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Flood-hit Ukraine, Moldova request EU aid

BRUSSELS/KIEV, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine and Moldova, hit by devastating floods in late July, have requested humanitarian aid from the European Union, an EU spokesman said on Friday.

He added that Ukraine had asked the EU to provide it with 50 electricity generators.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko declared a three-month state of emergency in western Ukraine, where at least 31 people, including six children, were killed on July 23-27 in the worst storms in the area in over a century.

Some 40,000 houses were destroyed, dozens of people are still missing, and thousands more have been evacuated from the region.

Evacuations have also been announced in several flooded regions of neighboring Moldova. The country's northern areas were the hardest-hit, with key roads closed due to high water levels. Some 600 houses have also been completely or partially submerged by flood waters. Part of Tiraspol, the capital of the unrecognized Moldovan republic of Transdnestr, was also flooded.

On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the country's emergencies and foreign ministries to provide humanitarian aid to flood-hit areas of Ukraine and Moldova. A Russian plane carrying 40 metric tons of food and potable water took off from Moscow on Friday.

On August 4, Russian trucks carrying diesel generators, pumps, disinfectants and other items are expected to arrive in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau and the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankovsk.

The Japanese government announced on Friday it would send Ukraine tents, blankets, diesel generators and water purifying devices worth $110,000. The aid is due to arrive in Kiev on August 4.

A top Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry's official said logging could have exacerbated the effects of the floods.

"I share the opinion that one of the causes of the disastrous flood in Ukraine was the uncontrolled cutting down of trees," Vasyl Dourdynets said at a news conference.

It is widely believed that one of the main reasons for the severe flooding seen in Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova in recent years is that deforested regions are less able to absorb water. In addition, nothing prevents water from rushing down the Carpathian Mountains in the event of heavy rains.

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