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Massive Flooding Hits Russia's Far East

The worst flooding in more than a century is ravaging Russia's Far East, displacing thousands near the Amur River, which forms the border with northeastern China.

Russian authorities say 17,000 people had been evacuated by Saturday, and warned that figure could reach 100,000 in the coming days.

China's official Xinhua news agency said Friday the flooding had killed 11 people and displaced more than 140,000 others on its side of the river, known in China as the Heilongjiang. It also said floodwaters had destroyed more than 2,500 homes, halted passenger rail service and inundated at least 1.4 million hectares of farmland.

Moscow has identified the Siberian deluge, which began in late July, as a natural disaster in the worst affected parts of the Amur and the Khabarovsk regions, and in the nearby Jewish Autonomous District.

Russian news agencies quoted President Vladimir Putin as describing damages as "enormous" in dozens of towns. But he vowed that all damaged infrastructure, including roads bridges, and utilities will be repaired.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.