MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – Torrential downpours in Russia’s southern resort city Sochi – due to host the Winter Olympic Games in February – flooded streets and homes on Tuesday, but water is nearly gone from the streets and Sochi’s swollen river levels are dropping, emergency officials said Wednesday.
Irina Rossius, the press secretary for Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, said that rain had stopped completely in some areas and there was no threat to land or population, but because of “the negative outlook” of Tuesday night, a state of emergency was still in effect.
Earlier on Wednesday, however, the local Emergency Ministries branch denied that a state of emergency had been declared.
10 homes in the village of Mirny and some train stations in Sochi’s Adler district are still flooded, but rescue teams are working on pumping out water and the trains are still running normally, said a press release on the ministry’s website. It added that all 30 residents evacuated from the village Kepsha have returned home, as the water level there dropped by 45 cm to 5 cm.
Rescue workers are continuing to monitor the situation, the ministry added, noting that about 1,800 of its personnel were helping out in rescue and cleanup operations.
The weather problems overshadowed the International Olympic Committee coordination commission’s last visit to Sochi. IOC inspectors are making their final checks on Sochi’s preparations for the Winter Olympics, which open February 7.
Despite the troubles, Russian officials have insisted everything remains on track for the Olympics themselves, and the IOC commission is expected to confirm that on Thursday.
On Tuesday, residents were evacuated from about 50 homes in one section of the city, miles-long traffic jams blocked several roads, and a number of flights at Sochi’s regional airport were canceled due to severe weather.
A local power company, Kubanenergo, said it had cut off power in five regions throughout the city on Tuesday night to avoid electrical hazards and prevent equipment damage that could lead to massive power outages.
A storm warning for Sochi, in effect since Monday, is forecast to continue through Wednesday.
Updated with modified headline, additional comments about the state of emergency and flooding details, and background information.