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    » 07/10/2012, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Russia mobilising for flood victims

    Nina Achmatova

    Ten tonnes of humanitarian have been sent to Krasnodar, but the blame game over the 170 and more victims is heating up. The opposition wants a parliamentary inquiry and the resignation of the local governor. The government is concerned that the disaster might rekindle street protests.

    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 networks.

    The government is monitoring the emerging grassroots network, concerned that shock and dissatisfaction might turn into fresh street protests.

    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.

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    See also

    09/07/2012 RUSSIA
    Russia, a day of mourning for the 171 flood victims
    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin orders an investigation into negligence. According to local operators, the affected population (Krasnodar region) was not warned in time. The accidental opening of a dam may have worsened the situation.

    12/07/2012 RUSSIA
    Floods: opposition organising aid, restarts protests
    Various political groups are united by the emergency in Krasnodar. Rally is being organised for mid-July to take advantage of the anger over the tragedy and higher fees.

    24/02/2010 INDONESIA
    West Java: landslide buries a village, 15 dead and 70 missing
    The area is owned by a company dedicated to the tea cultivation. It hosts over 2 thousand people and is difficult to reach for the rescuers. The landslides caused by monsoon rains. Vice-president Boediono will visit the area of disaster.

    17/12/2009 SRI LANKA
    Torrential rains in eastern Sri Lanka, three dead and thousands of homes flooded
    The districts most affected are those of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. Over 50 thousand families affected. Also flooded several temporary refugee transit centres and fields devoted to the cultivation of rice. Caritas Sedec already working to provide relief to victims.

    20/12/2011 THAILAND
    Exports and employment: the Thai economy after the flood emergency
    Bangkok needs to regain the confidence of foreign investors. The debt problems of the EU and the United States have had a greater impact - perhaps –than the natural disaster. For 2012, government policies are expected to boost growth, estimated at around 7%. Appeals to the executive to take steps to prevent further disasters.



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