Russian city reels from $3 million tornado damage: official

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A Russian town on the border with China was on Monday recovering from a rare tornado that killed a man and wreaked havoc that may cost the Far Eastern town up to $3 million, authorities said.

On Sunday evening, a giant 13-minute tornado swept through the depressed town of Blagoveshchensk in the Far Eastern Amur region, uprooting trees, tearing roofs off buildings and tossing cars into the air.

"This is an extremely rare phenomenon for our region," spokesman for the municipal administration, Denis Kozlov, told AFP.

"According to preliminary estimates, the damage is estimated between 50 million and 80 million rubles ($1.8 million to $2.9 million or 1.2 million euros to 2 million euros)."

As a result of the violent storm, four people were hospitalised including a woman in critical condition, Kozlov said. A total of 28 people were injured and one man died.

A total of 150 trees were uprooted, more than 150 cars overturned and more than 100 roofs torn from homes and other buildings, as the tornado left 10,000 people without power, the local administration said in a statement.

Located some 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) east of Moscow, Blagoveshchensk faces the bustling Chinese city of Heihe across the Amur river. The tornado appeared to have spared the Chinese city, Kozlov added.

© 2011 AFP

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