Moscow (AsiaNews) - As Russia continues to mobilise to
help flood victims on the Black Sea, the debate over the responsibilities of
the regional government for the tragedy continues. Last Saturday and Sunday, at
least 171 people died.
The first lorries with humanitarian supplies left Rostov-on-Don
today for Krasnodar. "It is ten tonnes of first aid: drugs, water, baby food,
sugar, UHT milk, canned meat and fish, jam, honey, pasta, sanitation products,
clothing and blankets," said a spokesperson for the Rostov Oblast Youth Policy
Committee. Rostov borders on Krasnodar.
Across Russia, aid collection points have been set up.
Political parties, newspapers, TV stations, NGOs and ordinary citizens have launched
various initiatives of solidarity; most of them posted online and social
The government is monitoring the emerging grassroots
network, concerned that shock and dissatisfaction might turn into fresh street
The Russian Orthodox Church has been playing a leading
role in providing aid. Miloserdie, one of its organisations, has been urging
people on the Church's website to offer blankets and food. It has also set up
an information hotline.
According to the latest figures, torrential rains
affected 48,000 people. The current death toll stands at 171 but is expected to
rise. Many of the dead were disabled and senior citizens. Federal authorities blame
the local government of failing to warn residents of the pending danger.
About 17,600 people are without power, 28,000 without
gas and 2,000 without drinking water, the Emergency Ministry said.
Meanwhile, a heated debate is underway over who is to
blame for Russia's umpteenth summer disaster. Russian media have started to
call July Russia's 'black month'.
For its part, the 'A Just Russia' opposition party has
called for a parliamentary inquiry into the disaster. It has also demanded the
resignation of Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachov, who was well aware of the
dangers before torrential rains fell.
Online and in the press, questions are being raised by
the high number of casualties. Some believe that a reservoir was opened near Krymsk
(which had the highest number of dead, 159) to spare the nearby city of Novorossiysk,
which is home to the largest oil terminal in the area.
So much water swept the region that some eyewitnesses
said it looked like a real tsunami.