Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a full investigation after at least 155 people were killed in flash floods in Russia's Southern Krasnodar region on the Black Sea this weekend.
The Interior Ministry has confirmed that 150 bodies have been found in the Krasnodar region since the flash floods hit the residential areas of Gelendzhik (nine deaths), Novorossiysk (2 deaths) and Krymsk (139 deaths), the epicentre of the flooding 87 kilometers from Krasnodar. A further 13,000 people have been affected by the floods.
The district of Krymsk was hit by floods on Friday night after heavy rainfall. Most of the victims were asleep when the tragedy struck. Aleksandr Tkachyov, the Governor od Krasnodar region, has declared that July 9 is to be a day of mourning for the victims.
President Vladimir Putin arrived in Krymsk on Saturday and held an urgent meeting with all the services involved in the search and rescue operation then headed for the Black Sea resort of Gelenszhik, also affected by the flooding. Vladimir Putin flew over the area to assess the damage and an Investigation Committee was set up, headed by Aleksandr Bastrykin.
There are rumours that the floodgates of the local Neberdzhayevsk reservoir were opened to prevent it from overflowing and that this emergency sluice system was responsible for the floods. This is as yet conjecture and will be investigated by the Committee, although certain political parties have tried to jump on the bandwagon.
Vladimir Putin has ordered that a separate inquiry team be set up to make a full investigation into the incident, to find out how much warning was given, to measure responsibilities and accountability.