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Agence France-Presse
Moscow, July 09, 2012
Severe flash floods in Russia's southern Krasnodar region have killed at least 87 people and affected nearly 13,000 in the area's worst natural disaster in decades, officials said on Monday.

Residents were caught completely by surprise by the force of the waters, which ripped up paving and flooded the ground floors of houses within minutes, witnesses and officials reported.

One woman reportedly had to spend a night up a tree before being rescued.

In the district of Krymsk, the area worst hit by the disaster, officials have already discovered 76 bodies including that of a 10-year-old child, regional police spokesman Igor Zhelyabin told AFP.

He feared the death toll could rise.

Nine people were reported killed in the Black Sea resort town of Gelendzhik and another two in the port of Novorossiisk over the past two days, he said.

The victims included two woman and three men electrocuted in Gelendzhik yesterday. The authorities said they had to switch off power in the worst-affected areas to avoid more deaths.

Tatyana, a resident of Krymsk whose house, perched on a hill, was not affected by the floods, said the disaster had struck unexpectedly.

"The water rose very quickly," she told AFP by phone, declining to give her last name.

"It flooded people's ground floors in five to 10 minutes, ripped out sidewalk curbs and even pieces of asphalt," she said.

Local people had received no warning from the emergency services, she added.

"It was very unexpected. Many elderly people must have been asleep and probably died," she said.

"In the morning, there were boats on the neighbouring street. A woman spent the night on a tree and then was rescued."