Over 170 killed as tsunami-like flood hits southern Russia

Posted on July 8, 2012

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At least 170 people have been killed in a devastating flood in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region. It’s the worst of its kind in nearly a century, and the death toll continues to rise.

Over 130 people are currently in hospital, including 14 children following the flood. Almost 3,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area.

More than 12,000 people have been affected by the disaster. A state of emergency has been declared in the cities of Krymsk, Novorossiysk, and Gelendzhik. In total 142 bodies have been recovered so far in Krymsk, nine in Gelendzhik and two in Novorossiysk.

Deputy Minister of the Interior Aleksandr Gorovoy said that the search for bodies continued as there are still two people unaccounted for. Also, he voiced fears that more people could be missing.

The flood was part of the aftermath of a giant storm that hit Krasnodar, dropping almost half a year’s rainfall on the region over two days. The weather forecast promises more heavy rains and squally wind to hit the region by night.

The most heavily affected areas are along the Russian Black Sea coast, which bore the brunt of the deluge as it rushed out to sea.

A day of mourning will be held across Russia on July 9 to commemorate the victims of the flood.

‘A wall of water’ in Krymsk

Krymsk has been affected worst of all as the deluge engulfed it overnight, tearing through the city and leaving a trail of desolation in its wake. Witnesses reported buildings destroyed and trucks and other vehicles being overturned.

One driver said his truck was literally carried tens of meters by the deluge. In a separate incident, a ten-year-old girl was ripped from her mother and sister’s arms by the force of the current.

“This is not just rain or a downpour, this is a catastrophe. There was a wall of water, it was difficult to breath,” wrote an eyewitness on a social networking site.

People desperately tried to escape the advancing deluge, fleeing to higher ground and taking refuge on the roofs of buildings.

In the city of Gelendzhik, workers at a kindergarten managed to get children onto the second floor of the building just in time before the waters hit. While one woman in Krymsk reportedly spent six hours on top of a gas oven to escape the rising waters.

Five people in Gelendzhik were electrocuted to death after a wire fell into the water. A man trying to cross a puddle next to a store on Kerchenskaya Street was the first to receive fatal injuries. Two women and another man rushed to help him, but were also killed by the electric current. A third man later approached the four bodies, and was himself electrocuted to death, his body carried away by the oncoming flood waters.

Local authorities say a large part of the casualties were pensioners unable to escape from their homes when the floodwaters struck.

RT

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