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Russian doomsday sect digs out well after roof collapse

PENZA, May 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's doomsday sect members, still holed up in a dugout in the country's central Penza Region, have excavated a well after an earlier reported cave-in, local officials said on Wednesday.

The well, which the cave dwellers dug prior to going underground in November, had served as the only water source until the cave's roof collapsed last month following heavy rain. The rain also partially destroyed the entrance to the dugout.

"They take water from the well which they have restored," the head of the local administration, Vladimir Provotorov said.

The nine sect members, who are still in the cave, communicate with local authorities through messages in which they discuss "issues of a domestic and religious character," and start singing when asked other questions, the official added.

Thirty-five members of the sect went underground in the Penza Region to wait for the end of the world, which they say will come in May or June. Two members of the sect have since reportedly died, their bodies are apparently buried in the shelter. Another 24 members, including four children, left the dugout just over a month ago after the roof collapsed.

The hardcore cultists now refusing to come to the surface will, it is believed, leave the dugout after the Feast of Holy Trinity, celebrated on June 14.

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