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Lionrock typhoon: Russia's Far East battered by most destructive storm in 40 years

The aftermath is twice as devastating as the one from the Judy typhoon in 1989

VLADIVOSTOK, September 3. /TASS/. The Lionrock typhoon, which battered Russia’s Maritime in the Far East, has wreaked the worst havoc in 40 years, head of the Chuguyev district Anatoly Baskakov said.

The destruction is twice as devastating as the Judy typhoon disaster back in 1989.

"I have been living here for 40 years. This is the worst flood here since Judy back in 1989," he told TASS. "This year’s flood is double the damage that Judy had left in its wake. It is seen from the level of water, which flooded houses up to their roofs, windows, which has swept away belongings, appliances, cars. The gushing flows are huge: 4% of our territory are covered by hills - and now they all are rushing down into the valley, where settlements are. In the Yasnoye settlement, the water level rose 2 meters above the critical line.

Water and food - airlifted

The official said, the local authorities are most concerned about how to deliver food to the settlements cut off by flooding, how to evacuate people, chiefly, the sick and women in labor. As of Saturday, eight settlements are cut off from any sort of transport communication.

"Today, a helicopter made a flight to deliver a woman in labor from a village, then we delivered humanitarian cargo from the city of Arsenyev to five cut-off villages. Now, a Mi-8 from Artem is delivering food, mostly bread to villages - we are taking about a thousand loafs aboard," the official stressed.

Another helicopter is gearing up for a rescue operation.

"People are now in taiga as the darkness is approaching. There are three categories of people - either they will be lifted or a helicopter will drop food. Then, the crew will drop medicines at the Berezovka settlement," he said.

The biggest problem is with water, he continued. "We receive bottled water in humanitarian cargo - half of all the payload in helicopters is water."

The district authorities have organized several temporary accommodation facilities. The biggest one is in a skating arena - more than 100 people are being housed there now.

"We are offering food to the survivors, everything is fine," the official said. "People are now beginning to repair their houses. We are working hard to analyze the damage."

Outside aid

The district’s head mentioned the assistance, which locals have been receiving from territories unaffected by the typhoon.

"People are bringing money to the accommodation facilities, they are calling, ask what we need," he said. "Businesses are also involved in providing assistance." Federal and regional authorities are also focusing attention on the district, he added.

On Friday, during a rescue operation, the head of the local emergency service Oleg Fedura died. "Unfortunately, this is what happened here," the official said. "I knew him personally. He was a very good, responsible person, very serious, athletic, a good manager."

The Lionrock typhoon struck the Maritime Territory following a mighty cyclone, which brought with it heavy downpours on August 29-31. Meteorology services registered the precipitation as three times the monthly norm. The Emergency services announced that in the region, flooding engulfed more than 2,500 houses, including one hospital, four kindergartens, three schools and a post office. On Saturday, 166 dwellings saw flooding subside.