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Putin sends condolences to Chinese leader over Beijing downpour victims

(Xinhua)

08:36, July 24, 2012

MOSCOW, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao over Beijing flood victims, the Kremlin reported Monday.

"Please accept our deep condolences over the floods in Beijing which killed dozens of people," the presidential press service quoted Putin as saying. "Please forward my support and compassion to all the relatives and families of those victims and wishes for sooner recovery from the natural disaster's hard consequences."

The downpour on Saturday, believed to be the heaviest to hit the Chinese capital in six decades, killed at least 37 people.

Among them, 25 were drowned, six were killed in house collapses and six by electrocution, according to a statement issued by the Information Office of the Beijing municipal government on Sunday night.

More than 50,000 residents have been relocated from their homes, said the municipal flood control headquarters, citing that the average precipitation reached 170 mm citywide and the maximum exceeded 460 mm.

The urban drainage system received fierce blame for the flooding, as heavy rain and snow often disrupted traffic in the city in recent years.

Quite a few motor vehicles floated on the water that was too much to be drained immediately from streets after the torrential rain. Some extended helping hands to neighbors and even strangers who found themselves besieged by the floods.

Many volunteered to offer rescue, helping drag vehicles out of flooded areas and transporting passengers back home by individual means.

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