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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Far East Towns Swamped by Floods




VLADIVOSTOK, Far East -- Rivers swollen by a typhoon off the Pacific coast cascaded through hundreds of villages, sending residents scrambling onto roofs and cutting power and telephone lines, reports from the area said Friday.


More than 3,000 houses were damaged in the Primorye region and nearly 500 people were evacuated from the heaviest flooded areas, just north of the regional capital Vladivostok, said Alexander Zalyotin, spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry.


Hundreds of kilometers of roads were washed out, dozens of bridges damaged and power stations put out of action.


More than 2,000 paratroopers and other servicemen had been drafted in to distribute food or oversee orderly departures.


Russian television showed water surging past the second floor of wooden houses, with entire families shifting possessions onto roofs. Rowboats, some equipped with small motors, navigated through village streets.


"We spent the first night on the roof," said one woman carrying a small child.


"No one would stop to take us to safety," she said. "One man came by in a small boat but wouldn't help."


Television reports said sunny weather had replaced several days of storms in which the equivalent of three months of rain had fallen.


But weather forecasters also warned that a new typhoon could hit the region.


Damage in the area was estimated at up to 200 million rubles ($7 million).


Rising waters were threatening the main highway linking the Pacific port of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk on the Chinese border. Pictures earlier this week showed cars making their way through the streets of Vladivostok with water nearly up to their windows.


On the island of Sakhalin, 1,547 families lost electricity and water supplies after rivers overflowed their banks, Zalyotin said.


He said that 1,150 rescue workers had been deployed to restore roads and bridges washed out by the floods.