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Thousands without power in Russia's icy far east after heavy snow

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Thousands of residents in Russia’s far eastern Primorsky region were without access to power on Friday after a state of emergency was introduced amid subzero cold after heavy snowfall.

The electricity supply may not return for several days, but “a detailed recovery plan has been drawn up, agreed together with the regional authorities”, Deputy Energy Minister Evgeny Grabchak said, without elaborating, according to news agencies.

In the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, frozen trees were strewn across roads and power lines were encrusted with ice. One video showed a row of cars encased in ice.

A state of emergency was introduced in the Primorsky region on Thursday, the local authority said, to mobilise all resources for the fight to protect people from the severe cold.

It said two days of rain and snowfall had formed a coating of ice on wires and trees up to 12 millimetres (half an inch) thick, something not seen in the region for 30 years.

The navy and army were involved in trying to limit the damage and temporary accommodation facilities had been set up.

“Medical care is being provided for patients, but the lack of electricity and water supply has changed the work format,” regional health minister Anastasia Khudchenko said on Friday.

She said generators were being installed at some hospitals and bottled water deliveries were among the emergency measures.

Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Heinrich