Russia Flash Floods
More than 50 people killed in Russia flash floods. Google Maps

At least 78 people have been killed in a massive flash flood that hit the southern Krasnodarsky Krai region of Russia.

According to reports from the region, the flash floods swept the area at midnight killing the sleeping residents.

"The floods were very strong. Even traffic lights were ripped out," AFP quoted Igor Zhelyabin, spokesman for regional police, as saying.

Evacuation efforts are under way and the authorities are taking steps to identify the bodies, according to Zhelyabin. Emergency teams have been dispersed to the region by plane and helicopters from the capital.

At least 67 people have died in the town of Krymsk, nine in Gelendzhik and two in Novorossiisk, the BBC reported.

Nearly 13,000 people are affected by the calamity, according to a statement by the Krasnodar regional administration.

Twitter is flooded with messages about the disaster. One of the tweets says the flash floods came at midnight and houses were flooded up to the first floor.

"The water started flooding in at 2am [22:00 GMT Friday]," the BBC quoted Anna Kovalevskaya whose relatives were in Krymsk as saying.

"People were running out into the streets in their underwear and wrapping their children in blankets. People were only able to save their passports. There is no electricity and the shops are shut. Many people have lost everything and are in a state of panic," Kovalevskaya continued.

The floods affected normal operations at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk where crude oil shipments were temporarily suspended.

"Of course, we limited shipments, the port is located in the lower part of town, the whole landslide has moved towards it. As we speak, the rain has started again," Reuters reported, quoting the Transneft spokesman Vladimir Sidorov as saying.