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Streets drown, bridge collapses as Southern Russia hit by deadly flash flood (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Torrential rains hit Southern Russia on Wednesday, causing flash flooding and seriously disrupting life in the area. At least two people were killed by the disaster.

The storm and heavy rains affected a long stretch of Black Sea coast – from the town of Dzhubga in the northwest, to the city of Sochi in southeastern parts of the coast. The area is particularly vulnerable to flooding since it is separated from plains further north by Western Caucasus mountain range.

As of Thursday, an elderly couple was reportedly killed in the disaster and one woman is missing, with her family unable to contact her. An evacuation was ordered for about 460 people living in areas most endangered by the flooding. Residents of a small mountain village refused to leave even as the only road connecting it to the outside world was destroyed by water. Emergency services said they will be providing food and other essentials to the 176 people living there.

A flooded street in Tuapse. © Sputnik / Vladislav Shchekoldin

The disaster disrupted power supply, road and railway traffic and even water supply in the Krasnodar region, to which the flooded coast belongs. A crucial bridge in western part of Sochi was destroyed by the flood, effectively cutting road connection with most the city from the rest of Russia. The Russian agency responsible for road maintenance said its workers managed to start repair on Thursday after the river somewhat calmed down and that traffic may be restored within two days.

In Sochi and its neighbor city Tuapse, storm sewer in some areas failed to deal with the disaster, and several streets were covered by fast streams of muddy water strong enough to carry even heavy vehicles. Tuapse area suffered most from the flooding, with an estimated 22,000 houses affected.

Weather forecasts say bad weather in the Krasnodar region may continue until Friday or early Saturday. The authorities advise residents to keep away from areas prone to landslides.

The region’s coastal terrain means it regularly has to deal with flash flooding. It has the sad distinction of being the place of one of the deadliest disaster of this kind in Russia’s history, the 2012 tragedy in Krymsk. The town is located on the mainland side of the mountain range and was devastated when unprecedentedly heavy rains caused a 3-meter water front which killed some 170 residents.

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