Tags: russia | flooding | convicted | negligence

Officials Convicted of Negligence Over Russia Flooding

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 02:45 PM

A court in southern Russia has convicted four local officials of criminal negligence for failing to alert residents to flash flooding in the city of Krymsk last summer that killed more than 170 people, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The verdict came as Russia was coping with disastrous flooding again, this time in the country’s Far East.

Judge Vladimir Makarenko of the Abinsk District Court said the four officials, including former Krymsk Mayor Vladimir Ulanovsky and former district head Vasily Krutko, had failed to warn the public as a deluge of rain, as much as the city usually gets in six months, fell in one night in the region. The resulting torrent “swept like a deadly tidal wave through the city,” according to the Times.

The judge ruled that three of the officials had forged documents to suggest that their response to the floods had been more timely.

Government handling of the Krymsk floods drew widespread outrage, and the nation has seemed mindful of the disaster as it copes with this year’s floods, which Russia’s Emergency Ministry said were the worst recorded in the Far East in more than a century.

While no deaths have been reported thus far, more than 20,000 people have been evacuated from area homes.

In what appeared to be a warning not to get caught flat-footed again, President Vladimir V. Putin urged officials on Saturday to personally “handle the problems” from the flooding.

Grief over the large number of dead in the floods last summer quickly became a crisis of public distrust after local officials admitted knowing about the dangerously accumulating rainwater several hours before it began flooding homes, where many of the victims were asleep.

What followed was an unusually swift and public campaign to hold local officials accountable, with Putin calling for a review by the powerful federal Investigative Committee.

“The people were defenseless not only from the elements but, as the investigation has discovered, also from bureaucratic indifference,” committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said as the verdicts were handed down.


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A court in southern Russia has convicted four local officials of criminal negligence for failing to alert residents to flash flooding in the city of Krymsk last summer that killed more than 170 people, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
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Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 02:45 PM
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