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updated: 8/18/2013 9:10 AM

Russia's worst flooding inundates 124 towns

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Bloomberg News

Russia's worst flooding inundated 124 towns in five regions in the country's Far East, affecting more than 34,000 people.

Rain continues to fall, the national weather center said on its website today. The water level in the Amur River near the city of Khabarovsk topped 6.49 meters (21 feet) by 8 p.m. local time, exceeding the historic record, according to the Emergencies Ministry.

The five regions have declared a state of emergency. The ministry evacuated 19,211 people from the Amur, Khabarovsk and Jewish Autonomous regions as of 7 a.m. Moscow time today, according to its data. President Vladimir Putin held a videoconference yesterday with regional governors and defense, health and emergency officials to discuss the flooding.

"We have never seen such a large-scale flood in our country's history," Alexander Frolov, chief forecaster at the weather center, said yesterday on state television channel Rossiya 24.

Floods in the Amur region are hindering preparations for winter and swamping open-pit coal mines, state news service RIA Novosti reported, citing Oleg Kozhemyako, the local governor.

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