MOSCOW -- At least 105 people died when torrential rains tore through southern Russia, catching sleeping people by surprise and flooding tens of thousands of homes, authorities said Saturday.
"They ran out in the night with only with the clothes on their backs. My [parents] were able to save themselves and their passports," Anna Kovalevskaya, whose parents live in Krymsk, a city in the Krasnodar region overwhelmed by the downpour, tweeted from Moscow. "The city is in panic."
Regional governor Alexander Tkachev tweeted as he flew over the devastated area that "something unimaginable" had occurred in Krymsk, a city of 50,000 about 750 miles south of Moscow. He later told the NTV news channel that the flooding was the worst the town had seen in 70 years.
Local news reports and residents’ Twitter and blog posts charged that the local government had released water from an overflowing reservoir in the nearby mountains overnight without warning, inundating the city with a 23-foot wave that tore down everything in its path.
"At night the water was so strong that it turned the asphalt inside out. People are upset — they say nobody warned them about the flood. We came across several streets with covered bodies," Irina Kizilbasheva, a reporter for the local Channel 9 station, said in a news report.