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article image170 dead in Russia's floods — 6 months' rain in 2 days (update)

By Anne Sewell     Jul 8, 2012 in World
Russia's almost tsunami-like floods have taken the lives of 170 people and devastated the area. The floods are the worst in nearly a century and the death toll continues to climb.
Digital Journal reported yesterday on the floods in Russia, which at that stage had taken 87 lives.
Officials have now calculated that up to 12,000 people have been affected by this disaster and a state of emergency has been declared in Gelendzhik, Krymsk and Novorossiysk.
So far, 139 bodies have been recovered in Krymsk, a further nine in Gelendzhik and two in Novorossiysk. Over 130 people are currently in hospital with injuries caused by the flooding, including 14 children.
The flooding occurred in the aftermath of a giant storm that hit Krasnodar, which dropped almost six months' worth of rain on the region in just over two days.
The Russian Black Sea coast bore the brunt of the deluge, as it rushed out to sea, and this is the most heavily affected area.
Damage from the floods in Russia.
Damage from the floods in Russia.
Video screen capture
image:118899:0::0
In Gelendzhik, five people were electrocuted to death when a wire fell into the water. A man trying to cross a puddle was the first to be electrocuted. Two women and another man rushed to his aid, but were also killed by the electric current in the water. A third man later approached the four bodies, and was himself electrocuted to death.
The deluge carried away not only homes, but also 16-ton trucks. According to one driver, his truck was carried tens of meters by the floods.
Local authorities say a large part of the casualties were pensioners unable to escape from their homes when the flood waters struck.
Aleksandr Tkachyov, Governor of the Krasnodar region surveyed the damage in the area from a helicopter, to estimate repairs. He sent updates on the situation via Twitter, and said on Saturday, “The scale of it is spectacular, to be sure, and very tragic. The water came with such force that it tore up the asphalt,” commenting on a picture of one of the main streets in the city where the flood hit hardest.
Over 140 helicopters and 10,000 rescue teams have been dispatched to the area to join the current rescue and repair efforts in the region.
A separate rescue team has been sent by authorities in the Perm region of Russia to evacuate dozens of children who were at local summer camps when the storms hit.
Viktor Basargin, Governor of the Perm region said on Saturday, “The children have no contact with the Ministry of Emergencies or the local authorities in Gelendzhik. For two days now they have been without supplies and electricity. We have decided to take action on the issue of their evacuation.”
At present 84 children have been safely evacuated and have returned home. A further 114 are said to be in an area unaffected by the disaster. Supervisors decided that these children could continue their holiday stay.
Russian Vice-premier Olga Golodetz has expressed concern over the tourist population in the area. This year 7,130 Russian children went camping in the surrounding territory.
However, Governor Tkachyov emphasized that the all the camp grounds in the area appear to be safe: “Practically all the campgrounds are in normal condition, nothing is threatening the lives of the children.” The only campground that has suffered as a result of the flooding was the “Azure Shore” campsite, which was without power.
However, Tkachyov did support Basargin’s decision to evacuate the children from the Perm region.
The affected area has been visited by both Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Emergency Minister Vladimir Puchkov and the Minister of Regional Development Oleg Govorun. President Putin has ordered investigations to find out if enough was done to prevent 144 people being killed in floods.
Anna Kovalevskaya, whose parents live in the flooded area, described water inundating their home up to the roof. She told the Russian News Service, "In the town, people are saying that a reservoir in the mountains above was opened. A wave came from there. There was seven meters of water in the town."
On Sunday, Russia's Health Minister, Veronika Skvortsova arrived in the Krasnodar region to assess the full impact of the tragedy and the situation in the temporary shelters housing evacuees from the flood zone.
RT is reporting that an oil spill has been found near the southern Russian port of Novorossiysk. The port's press service has said that the spill is believed to have originated from outside the port, and was then washed into the city by the heavy rain waters.
Transneft, the oil company operating from the port, yesterday halted stocking oil products onto its tankers.
Update: Latest reports are that there are 170 dead from the flooding.
Some 479 people, 48 children among them, have sought medical aid following the flood. Almost 3,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area. More than 24,000 people have been affected by the disaster.
More about Russia, Floods, Landslides, Flooding, Gelendzhik
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