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Emergency declared around Olympic city Sochi because of floods

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Regional authorities have declared a state of emergency in the area around Sochi because of flooding and mudslides less than five months before the Russian city hosts the Winter Olympics.

Sochi residents were asked not to leave their homes and a Reuters photographer in the city said there were long traffic jams because of knee-high puddles following heavy rain.

An emergency services spokeswoman said the state of emergency was declared because of high water levels in rivers in the region on Tuesday, and firefighters were pumping water from the streets of Sochi on the Black Sea coast.

"Now the situation has started to stabilize," she said.

Residents were evacuated from the nearby village of Kepshta which was threatened by mudslides in the Adler area, where some of the Games venues are located, the emergency services said.

Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, told state television he had no doubt Sochi would be ready for the Games next February, which President Vladimir Putin wants to show how far Russia has come since the Soviet era ended in 1991.

(Reporting by Ludmila Danilova and Maxim Shemetov, Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130925/emergency-declared-around-olympic-city-sochi-because-floods