The Heat Is Online

Flooding Kills 150 People in south Russia

Death toll climbs to 150 in Russia flooding, July 7, 2012

Moscow (CNN) -- Raging floodwaters that tore through the streets of southern Russia's Krasnodar region in the middle of the night are responsible for killing at least 150 people and displacing thousands, Russian media reported Sunday.

The casualties began to climb over the weekend after authorities found bodies in flooded buildings in the hard-hit town of Krymsk, a predominantly rural area dotted with one story homes, state news agency Itar-Tass reported.

The toll may still climb as authorities search for at least two people who are unaccounted for, Deputy Interior Minister Aleksandr Gorovoy said, according to a report Sunday on English-language Russian news channel RT.

"The scale of it is spectacular, to be sure, and very tragic. The water came with such force that it tore up the asphalt," regional Gov. Alexander Tkachev said on Saturday via Twitter after seeing pictures of the flood damage in Krymsk, according to RT.

Of those killed, 139 are in the Krymsk district, nine in Gelendzhik district and two in the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, the Interior Ministry said. At least 205 people, including 13 children, required medical care in the region for injuries, the ministry said.

The floodwaters followed heavy rains that began Friday, pushing rivers and streams over their banks overnight. The waters rose 7 meters (23 feet) in Krymsk, striking while most people were asleep, Itar-Tass reported.

"People just ran from their homes because there was a huge wall of water," one woman told the Russian News Service, a Moscow-based radio station.

More than 12,000 have been displaced by floodwaters that overran more than 5,000 homes in a number of towns and villages in the region, the news agency reported.

The worst hit areas were along the coast of the Black Sea, which RT reports "bore the brunt of the deluge as it rushed out to sea."
The fierce floodwaters destroyed homes and carried trucks out to sea, RT reported.

One driver, according to RT, said his truck was pushed tens of meters by floodwaters, while the force of the floodwaters ripped a 10-year-old girl her mother's arms.

Five people in the seaside resort town of Gelendzhik were electrocuted after power lines collapsed into the water. RT, citing witnesses, said a man trying to cross a large puddle was initially electrocuted, and then four others who tried to come to his aid were then killed by the live electrical current.

A criminal investigation has been launched by Russian authorities to look into whether there was negligence on the part of any officials for failing to warn residents of potential flooding, RT reported.

Tkachev declared Monday a day of mourning, ordering the cancellation of any planned celebrations or leisure activities, according to a statement released by the governor's press office.


At least 78 killed in floods in south Russia

Reuters, July 7, 2012

(Reuters) - At least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were flooded in torrential rain and landslides in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, police said on Saturday.
A police spokesman said 67 people had been killed in the town of Krymsk after an average two-months' rain fell in just a few hours in the popular holiday region on the Black Sea where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Television footage showed flooded streets and people scrambling onto rooftops.
"There are lots of overturned cars, even huge trucks. Brick fences are washed away," a local resident, Vladimir Anosov, said by telephone from the village of Novoukrainsky.
"People are on the street, they are at a loss what to do. Helicopters are flying overhead, they are evacuating people from the flooded areas. The floods are really, really huge. Police advise people to choose different routes," he said.
Novorossiisk, Russia's largest Black Sea port, halted crude oil shipments, a spokesman for oil pipeline operator Transneft said. The port also suspended grain exports.
Police spokesman Igor Zhelyabin put the death toll in Krymsk at 67 and said 11 people had been killed in Novorossiisk and the coastal town of Gelendzhik.
"Police are beefing up their presence to prevent mass looting," Zhelyabin said.
Two other people were unaccounted for, he said.
Alexander Tkachov, the governor of the Krasnodar region, urged local residents not to panic.
"No one can remember such floods in our history. There was nothing of the kind for the last 70 years. More than 5,000 households were hit," Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.
The State Hydrometeorology Agency said more rain was possible on Saturday and Sunday.
"The region's transportation is in a state of collapse," Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said, and Russian Railways' website said all trains heading to and from Novorossiisk had been suspended.
"The water has risen half a metre above the rails," it said.
The Novorossiisk port, which handles grains and metals as well as crude oil, said the outlet had cut shipping volumes.
"We are not loading grains due to rainy weather," spokesman Mikhail Sidorov said. "Of course, we limited shipments, the port is located in the lower part of town, the whole landslide has moved towards it. As we speak, the rain has started again."
Last month Transneft forecast crude exports from Novorossiisk would fall to 3.38 million tonnes in July from 3.61 million tonnes in June.