Moscow, 23 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The death toll in floods in southern Russia rose to at least 46 today, with another 180 people missing due to floods in the Stavropol territory bordering Chechnya. RIA-Novosti quotes the local Interior Ministry as saying that police has yet to identify 12 of the bodies that had been discovered in Stavropol Krai. Deputy police chief Colonel Andrei Aleksa said a total of 33 people have so far been confirmed dead as a result of flooding in the krai.
President Vladimir Putin urgently ordered troops fighting to come to the assistance of flood victims.
At least 20,000 are stranded by floods across the northern Caucasus in southern Russia. Emergency services evacuated more than 55,000 people from the worst-affected areas of flooding in a region that saw as much rain in two days as normally falls in three months.