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Village Near Avalanche Evacuated

September 23, 2002|From Times Wire Services

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia — Rescuers evacuated a southern Russian village threatened by meltwater from a collapsed glacier Sunday, amid fears that hot weather could cause flooding in areas where the search for 80 missing people continues.

Local officials said 24 bodies had been recovered, although authorities in Moscow said only six had been retrieved from the area around the village of Karmadon, North Ossetia, a region near Russia's border with Georgia.

Late Sunday, 84 people were moved from the nearby village of Gornaya Saniba, which faced inundation by 1.4 billion cubic feet of melted ice that has collected in two large new lakes, Itar-Tass news agency reported. The lakes formed on the millions of tons of ice, mud and debris that thundered down a valley Friday when a huge chunk of the Maili glacier broke free.

Emergency officials believe that at least 100 people were killed.

"It sounded like a train was coming, but there are no trains here. We saw an enormous mass coming in our direction, and we ran," said Dmitri Podalyakin, 18, who was sitting with friends in a cafe when the avalanche roared down.

"When we came back, we saw that some of the cabins were covered by the mass. There were cries of 'Save us!' but we could do nothing except stand there," he said. "Soon the cries stopped."

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