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Floods kill 55 in western India as relief work continues
by Staff Writers
Ahmedabad, India (AFP) June 27, 2015

Man drowns as floods hit Russian Olympic city of Sochi
Moscow (AFP) June 25, 2015 - A man drowned on Thursday when severe flooding hit the Russian resort of Sochi which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, destroying homes and cutting off transport links.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in the Black Sea city, deploying rescue workers from other cities to help cope with the disaster, the emergencies ministry said.

The body of a man in his forties who appeared to have drowned was found in Adler, on the outskirts of Sochi, authorities said.

A torrential downpour dumped the equivalent of two months of rain in just 14 hours on the city of 400,000 residents.

Around 400 homes were destroyed in the part of the city closest to the shore of the Black Sea.

"The Kherota river overflowed its banks, the train station was flooded and train services had to be suspended," Sochi's mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said.

Around 2,000 people were stranded at the airport which was under one metre of water, the mayor added.

Several of the venues for the 2014 Winter Olympics were flooded, as was the Formula One circuit to host the Russian Grand Prix that was inaugurated in October last year.

Russia spent an estimated $50 billion (45 billion euros) to build facilities and infrastructure to host the Winter Olympics in the Soviet-era resort.

Earlier this month freak floods killed at least 19 people and ravaged a zoo in the former Soviet nation of Georgia further south.

A tiger that escaped from the Tbilisi Zoo mauled a man to death before being shot dead by police.

Relief workers were Saturday trying to reach residents stranded by floods in India's western Gujarat state triggered by torrential rains that have so far claimed 55 lives, officials said.

Officials were providing food and water to the people affected by flash floods in the Saurashtra region, as thousands fled to safer areas following the rains that started Wednesday.

The rain has since subsided but left a trail of destruction, with scores of houses damaged as well as roads, railway tracks, bridges and electricity pylons destroyed.

An official from the state's emergency department said two more bodies were recovered Saturday in the coastal district of Amreli.

"The death toll has touched 55 since June 24," the duty officer at the state flood control centre told AFP.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Sitanshu Kar said on his twitter account that the Indian Air Force had "carried out 23 sorties by 6 MI-17 V5 Helicopter and dropped 5.87 tonnes of food packets".

Officials said improved weather is now allowing workers to restore power supply to some 200 villages in Amreli and Junagadh districts which were hardest hit by the flash floods brought on by the annual monsoon rains.

Bipin Bhatt, Gujarat's deputy relief commissioner said there have been no rains in the region since last two days, helping the authorities to reach residents with food, medicines and cash assistance.

An official statement on Friday said the floods have damaged a portion of the rail line that connects Pipavav Port to the state capital Ahmedabad near Amreli, and severely affected operations at the port.

More than 5,000 animals carcass have also been recovered and disposed off, it said.

Forest officials said four endangered Asiatic lions were found dead in Amreli and Bhavnagar districts.

"Two adult lion carcass were found floating in flood water," G S Singh, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bhavnagar told AFP.

His counterpart in Amerli said a five-year-old lion and lioness were found dead in the district.

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Floods kill 41 in western India
Ahmedabad, India (AFP) June 25, 2015
Flash flooding triggered by torrential rains has killed 41 people in India's western Gujarat state, as the annual monsoon season hits the country, a disaster management official said Thursday. Authorities have evacuated more than 10,000 residents mainly from coastal areas of Gujarat following heavy rains in the last 24 hours, the state government said in a statement. The coastal district ... read more

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