MOSCOW, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) — The Russian government on Monday declared a day of national mourning after last weekend’s devastating floods which killed more than 170 people in the country’s southern Black Sea region, officials said.
Torrential rains over the weekend triggered a series of floods in the region of Krasnodar, where more than 30 centimeters (1 foot) of rain fell on Friday night, equal to the region’s average rainfall for more than two months. States of emergency were declared in the cities of Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik and Krymsk.
As of Monday, at least 171 people have been confirmed dead while 17 others remain missing due to the floods, which have affected more than 24,000 people and flooded some 5,000 homes. It is the worst such disaster to hit the region in decades, government officials said.
Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told RIA Novosti that not all of the region’s residents were warned of the weather forecast on time, stating that mistakes were made by local authorities and certain departments. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin, who declared the national day of mourning, ordered an investigation into the incident. Police have also launched a separate probe as some deaths were reportedly caused by negligence.
Putin flew over the affected region by helicopter on Saturday with reports indicating that most of the victims were elderly people and handicapped. Floods have also disrupted power, gas and water supplies in the region and roads and the transportation infrastructure have also been heavily affected.
The mourning is also in honor of fourteen people who were killed in a bus accident on Saturday. It involved a bus carrying 43 pilgrims from Russia’s Pskov Region to Ukraine’s Pochayiv Lavra in the northern Chernigov province. The bus swerved off the road and ended up in a ditch.