WITH the death toll from severe flooding in the Black Sea region of southern Russia now at 150.
President Vladimir Putin, during a visit to the region yesterday ordered investigataors to determine whether more could have been done to prevent the deaths of the victims.
Putin, who was criticized in past years for a delayed or seemingly indifferent response to disasters, flew to the region in southern Russia committed to showing he was taking charge of the situation.
He ordered the head of Russia’s investigative agency to establish whether enough had been done to warn people about the floods. Federal prosecutors also said they were investigating whether the population had been properly protected from “natural and technological catastrophes.”
Russia has seen a series of natural and man-made disasters in recent years, many of them blamed on aging infrastructure or lax safety rules.
Torrential rains dropped up to a foot of water in less than 24 hours, which the state meteorological service said was five times the monthly average. The water rushed into the hard-hit town of Krymsk early Saturday with such speed and volume that residents said they suspected that water had been released from a reservoir in the mountains above. Local officials denied this, saying it was not technically possible to open the sluices.