Monday, July 9, 2012

Russia mourns flood victims, local officials blamed

Andrey Kuzmin in Reuters: Russia's emergencies minister accused local officials on Monday of not doing enough to prevent 171 deaths in weekend floods that raised new doubts about the country's readiness for natural disasters under President Vladimir Putin. Putin declared a day of national mourning on Monday and relatives were preparing to bury their dead in Krymsk, the southern mountain town that was worst hit by floods that caught many of the victims unawares as they slept on Friday night.

....Postmen in the badly damaged town of 57,000 people went from house to house, handing out sums of 10,000 roubles ($300), with the promise of more compensation to come. Many people were salvaging what they could from their sodden homes.

....Putin, who was criticized for responding too slowly to national disasters early in his first spell as president, quickly flew to Krymsk on Saturday to show he was in control and ordered an inquiry into the high death toll.

Some residents say the wall of water that swept through Krymsk was so high that the gates of a nearby reservoir must have been opened. Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov has dismissed these suggestions but he said mistakes were made in failing to ensure residents were warned quickly enough. A criminal investigation has been launched.

"According to a preliminary appraisal, warnings were made but unfortunately not all the work was carried out properly. Mistakes were allowed by local leaders and various services," he said in televised comments. "Not all the population was warned in time," he said....

The coat of arms for Krymsk

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