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Putin flies over flooded areas in Russia's Far East

President Vladimir Putin has ordered an inquiry into local officials' handling of Russia's worst floods in 120 years, which have cost the country nearly USD 1 billion. Putin made the announcement after visiting devastated regions in Russia's Far East where houses are half-submerged, streets and fields have disappeared under water and thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. State television, which has often tried to burnish Putin's action-man image, showed him peering through a plane window and looking stern as he flew over stricken areas where the roofs of houses were barely visible above the muddy water. No deaths have been reported in the floods, which followed rain and have lasted several weeks. But thousands have been evacuated from their homes, farmland has been damaged and the authorities put the damage at USD 900 million.

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