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Medvedev Orders Flood Relief Spending Plan

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered government ministries and local authorities in the Far East to draw up spending proposals to fund the cleanup following catastrophic floods that have swept the region in the last few weeks, the government's press service said Monday.

Regional authorities have been ordered to monitor food prices in stores in the flooded areas and to apply for state loans to support farmers affected by the disaster.

The government is considering granting 12 billion rubles ($363 million) to the Far East flood victims to assist reconstruction, a Russian emergency services spokeswoman said Saturday.

Several weeks of floods, which meteorologists have said were the worst to hit the region in 120 years, have affected at least 50,000 people in the Amur region, the Jewish autonomous region, and the Khabarovsk and Primorye regions, as well as in the Siberian republic of Sakha, according to Emergency Situations Ministry officials.

The situation is not expected to improve until at least the end of September or even October, meteorologists say.

Waters of the Amur River near Khabarovsk may reach a peak level of some 830 centimeters (27.2 feet) by Thursday, local meteorologists said Monday.

The forecasted level will surpass the earlier registered mark of 642 centimeters by almost two meters, while the critical mark of the water level stands at six meters.

"As of 8:00 a.m. local time Monday, water levels of the Amur River near the city of Khabarovsk stood at 797 centimeters [26.1 feet]," local meteorology service said in a statement.

KHABAROVSK — More than 130,000 children in the Khabarovsk region attended schools on Monday despite the ongoing state of emergency caused by devastating floods, a local official said.

Over 50 towns and villages are flooded across the far eastern region and some 1,800 residential buildings have been affected.

"In all, some 133,200 schoolchildren across the territory took their seats at school," said Pavel Sarychev, an aide to the region's governor.

The official added that only three schools out of 383 located in the Khabarovsk Territory did not open for the new school year.

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