A ship carrying around 50 metric tons of food has left for the Komandor Islands, in Russia's Far East, after the area was cut off by storms and bad weather, the local emergencies said Wednesday.

Heavy storms have made it impossible to deliver supplies by sea or air to the islands, 200 km east off Kamchatka, since December 2007. Food has been running short in the Aleut District, where around 800 people, including 200 children, live.

According to preliminary reports, the Anatoly Krasheninnikov vessel was expected to reach the Nikolskoye village, its destination, last night. It is carrying sugar, flour, meat and dairy products, fruit, vegetables and canned goods.

The ship was dispatched to the islands last Thursday but had to take refuge in the Olga Bay on the eastern coast of Kamchatka on Saturday due to storms.

"It is the first time in the peninsula's history where it has been impossible to deliver supplies to the Komandor Islands for over a month due to poor weather," the emergencies spokesman said.

A kindergarten and a comprehensive school at Nikolskoye currently have food reserves for another week. Bakeries are running short of flour and the local administration said that the population badly needs fruit, vegetables and fresh milk.

Latest reports said an earthquake of a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale had occurred near the islands last night. The earthquake had its epicenter 50 km northwest of the Nikolskoye village, at a depth of 30 km under the seabed. No casualties have been reported.