The death toll from flash floods in Russia now stands at more than 130.
Some areas have seen two months’ rain fall in just a matter of hours, cutting off roads and rail, causing electricity blackouts and provoking landslides. Streets were flooded and people scrambled onto rooftops to escape the rising water.
“We lost our property, all we have invested in, and first of all it’s a shock of course,” said one woman. “The car has drowned over there, everything is ruined. It was frightening.”
Locals say they have seen nothing like it in 70 years with water depth measuring seven metres in some areas.
Novorossiisk in the Krasnador region has had to shut its Black Sea port – one of the country’s most important – halting crude oil and grain shipments.
“The most difficult situation is in Krymsk. A third of houses are flooded,” said Alexander Kozlikin, the head of Krasnador Regional Emergencies Ministry. “Twenty emergency and fire trucks have arrived there already and the rescue squad from Kovalyovka is on its way. Also the Ministry (of emergencies) has taken the decision to send two planes and three helicopters from Moscow.”
The flooding started on Friday with water levels rising sharply overnight, catching out many people as they slept. Police warn they are finding more bodies all the time and fear many more victims may have been swept out to sea.