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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Russian authorities failed properly to warn residents in the Black Sea region of floods that killed at least 171 people and left others scrambling for safety, the emergencies minister has acknowledged.
Yesterday was declared a national day of mourning in Russia. Families of the flood victims were beginning to bury the dead in the hard-hit town of Krymsk, where torrential rain and flooding turned streets into swirling muddy rivers, inundated thousands of homes and forced people to flee from their beds in the middle of the night. Nearly 19,000 people have lost all their belongings.
The Emergencies Ministry said it sent warnings out by text message, but some local residents said they never received the alerts. Ministry head Vladimir Puchkov acknowledged under pressure that they were insufficient to reach everyone on time.
"A system to warn the residents was set up," Mr Puchkov told a government meeting where he was grilled by the deputy prime minister about the flood. "Unfortunately, not everyone was warned early enough."
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