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At least 45 die in floods in south Russia, port hit

MOSCOW (Reuters) – At least 45 people died and thousands of houses were flooded after torrential rains, storms and landslides hit Russia’s Krasnodar region near the Black Sea, a local police spokesman told Reuters on Saturday.

Novorossiisk, Russia’s largest Black Sea port, halted crude oil shipments on Saturday, a spokesman for oil pipeline operator Transneft told Reuters.

“In Krymsk district 34 died, 11 more bodies were found in Novorossiisk and Gelendzhik. Police is beefing up its presence to prevent mass looting,” police spokesman Igor Zhelyabin said.

The Emergencies Ministry said an average month’s rain has fallen in the region within just a few hours. Television footage showed flooded streets and people scrambling onto rooftops.

“The region is in transportation collapse,” Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said. The port of Novorossiisk had stopped crude oil shipments but Transneft’s infrastructure was largely unaffected, he said.

A spokesman for the port, which handles grains as well as crude oil, said the outlet had cut shipping volumes and the port’s administration had called an urgent meeting.

“Of course, we limited shipments, the port is located in the lower part of town, the whole landslide has moved towards it. As we speak, the rain has started again,” Vladimir Sidorov said. “I will have more detailed information after the meeting.”

Last month Transneft forecast crude exports from Novorossiisk would fall to 3.38 million metric tons in July from 3.61 million metric tons in June.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Published Date: Saturday, July 7th, 2012 | 04:08 AM

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