Flood fury kills 171 in Russia; Putin orders probe

The floods that hit Russia’s southern Krasnodar region on Saturday, is told to be the worst in decades.

Updated: Jul 09, 2012, 00:18 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Moscow: Struck by the fury of flash floods, at least 171 Russians in Krasnodar region lost their lives, the government said on Sunday. President Vladimir Putin visited the southern town of Krymsk, the worst affected area by floods and ordered an inquiry to probe any mismanagement involved in tackling floods.

After visiting the flood zone, Putin said that new homes will be built for the victims. Putin, who has in past, been targeted for not acting promptly enough during disasters, toured the flood-hit areas and ordered the Emergency Ministry to check a reservoir near Krymsk, which according to few, has caused severe floods.

Krymsk with a population of 57,000 people, (located some 87 km from Krasnodar) is the worst hit area as out of 150, a whopping 139 have been found dead here.

The floods that hit Russia’s southern Krasnodar region on Saturday, is told to be the worst in decades, sweeping away various cities in the region. According to Interior Ministry, the death toll has hit 171 and may keep on rising.

The Russian Interior Ministry further said that 150 children had been rescued so far from Krymsk.

"Up to 600 policemen are working in Krymsk and they have rescued some 300 people, including 150 children," the statement from the ministry said.

Apart from Putin, who undertook a surveillance flight above the flooded territories, several ministers and the head of the investigation committee, Alexander Bastrykin, also visited the affected areas.

The abruptness and ferociousness of the flood triggered rumours that the disaster was caused by negligence of the local authorities who had allegedly opened the Neberdzhayevsk reservoir to prevent it from overfilling because of the heavy rains.

The claims were echoed by the statement from Russia`s Yabloko party, whose head Sergei Mitrokhin said Saturday that it was the emergency sluice, an artificial water channel, opening system at the reservoir which caused the tragedy.

The Krasnodar region`s authorities, however, rubbished the allegations and called them "an absolute nonsense".

The governor of Krasnodar region, Alexander Tkachyov, has declared July 9 day of mourning for flood victims.

With Agency Inputs