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Crimea: Nearly 500,000 left without power after storm hits Black Sea region

Around 500,000 people have been left without power after a storm took down power lines, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea.

Russian state news agency Tass said the storm also hit southern Russia and sent waves flooding into the beach resort of Sochi.

It is part of a weather front that hit Romania and Moldova on Sunday, leaving one person dead and hundreds of places without electricity amid heavy snowfall and strong blizzards.

Several Crimean regions declared a state of emergency after it became the strongest recorded storm in 16 years with wind speeds reaching 90mph (144kph).

The government in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, told people to stay at home on Monday.

Government offices were also shut as well as schools and hospitals.

The head of one Crimean region, Natalia Pisareva, said everyone in the Chornomorske area of western Crimea had no water supply and central heating because pumping stations had lost power.

There were also reports of a problem with a gas pipeline in Saky, western Crimea.

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In an aquarium in Sevastopol, around 800 exotic fish and animals died after the room they were in was flooded, the Crimea 24 TV channel reported.

In Russia, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium stopped crude oil loading at the Novorossiysk port due to "extremely unfavourable weather conditions".