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SERVICES 
Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Cyclone hits Vladivostok
Damaged houses in Russia's Far East
The cyclone left a trail of devastation
At least five people have died in a storm which struck the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok.

Torrential rains lashed the city, flooding streets up to a metre deep and disrupting water and power supplies.


A real tropical torrent

Ekho Moskvy radio
A powerful frontal cyclone brought more rain to Vladivostok in two hours than it usually gets in a month.

The bodies of three of the storm victims were discovered on the banks of what the RIA news agency described as a "normally calm" river.

Three homes were swept away by mud flows and traffic in many areas was brought to a standstill.

Rail traffic also came to a halt after the supports of a railway bridge were washed away.

Russian television showed pictures of locals wading waist-deep through the streets, trying to salvage something from their flooded homes.

Ongoing crisis

The people of Vladivostok have had more than their fair share of problems recently.

The area was crippled by an energy crisis last winter which left residents with practically no heat or light for weeks on end.

Former regional governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko was forced to resign because of Kremlin dissatisfaction with his handling of the crisis.

The local authorities will now have an uphill task to ensure that the energy infrastructure is in a fit state to cope with next winter's power demands.

In the meantime, Vladivostok can expect little consolation from the weathermen - continuing heavy rain is forecast for at least the next few days.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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The BBC's Samantha Simmonds
"The streets filled with water up to a metre deep"
See also:

05 Feb 01 | Europe
Putin fires energy minister
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