171 dead, thousands homeless in Russia floods
The latest death toll of the floods that have ravaged Russia’s southern Krasnodar region is at least 171, with over 25,000 having lost some or all of their possessions.
Flash floods caused a 5 meter (16ft) wave to sweep through the town of Krymsk late Friday night leaving a path of muddy wreckage in its wake. Residents of the Krasnodar region say they were given no warning of the coming floods. Though both local and national governments claim they had no knowledge of any imminent danger, public and media opinion (both for and against the Putin regime) has been highly critical of government handling of the situation.
From the Australian:
Vedomosti said that flooding in the Krasnodar region was in no way a novelty and authorities were well aware of the risk, particularly after deadly floods in the northern summer of 2002 that also hit Krymsk.
Some residents of the flood ravaged area even go further, claiming that the city of Novorossiysk opened the gates to its reservoir to redirect flood waters away from its path and towards Krymsk. Novorossiysk is Russia’s largest port and its largest harbor is owned by allies of president Putin. Authorities reject that the opening of the reservoir gates caused or contributed to the floods.
Regardless, the floods and the Russian government’s response has not benefited Vladimir Putin.
From the Guardian:
The tragedy has highlighted increasing dissatisfaction with Putin’s regime, and growing mistrust of official media as internet use grows. Photos and videos taken on mobile phones revealing the scale of the flood damage spread at lightning speed on social networks throughout the weekend. On Saturday night, state TV news showed Putin flying over the damaged area earlier in the day, but no mention was made of the suffering of flood victims or the anger on the ground.
Putin has ordered a probe to investigate if enough was done to prevent the deaths.
See the following video report from Al Jazeera English for more.