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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Dead as Floods Swamp Vladivostok

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VLADIVOSTOK, Far East — Torrential rains flooded Vladivostok on Tuesday, washing away homes, disrupting power and water supplies and halting transportation. Three people were reported dead.

A 15-year-old boy drowned when rushing water swept him into a swollen river that runs through the city of 700,000 people, police said. Details of the other two deaths were not immediately available.

Pedestrians caught on flooded streets linked hands to form human chains as they moved through surging water up to a meter high. The water in places carried heavy debris, such as logs and pieces of asphalt torn from the roads.

At least four homes were washed away after their residents were evacuated, said Alexei Komarov, a spokesman for the city emergencies headquarters.

There were numerous reports of the first floors of apartment buildings being flooded, he said.

A Pacific Fleet warehouse was demolished by a landslide caused by the downpour.

Stalled vehicles, with water lapping at their windshields, paralyzed highways.

Komarov said the navy sent two armored personnel carriers to clear roads.

Water flooded electric stations feeding much of the city, the local power utility said.

Some of the central water pumps for the city were also submerged in water.

Traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railroad was halted because the tracks were inundated and one rail bridge was damaged, Komarov said.

The local airport announced the cancellation of most flights.

Vladivostok received its average monthly rainfall of 144 millimeters in one day, and the rain was expected to continue Wednesday, according to Komarov.

The summer rains may also hamper efforts to prepare fuel and repair energy infrastructure before winter arrives in the far eastern Primorye region.

The area was crippled last winter by an energy crisis that left residents with at best intermittent heat and light for weeks.

Several people died as temperatures plunged far below freezing.

(AP, Reuters)