Monday, 16 July 2012
The politicising of Russia's floods
Has the Russian opposition nowhere else to go but blame President Putin for everything? The latest ridiculous and hysterical claims blame Vladimir Putin for last weekend's floods in which 171 people died in Russia's southern region, Krasnodar which lies 1,194 kilometres away. Even God has problems being omniscient and omnipresent but according to Russia's opposition, Vladimir Putin has already surpassed the almighty in these skills. Why, he is now being blamed for the flash floods in South Krasnodar last weekend. Does he have a direct telephone line to Saint Peter? To underline how ridiculous the claims are, Vladimir Putin was within minutes of hearing of the tragedy flying over the area, organising not just a Commission but also a full enquiry, organising compensation for the victims, which has already been paid, in cash. A large area was organised with tents to house the residents who lost their homes and food and clothing were distributed to the victims. The floods were caused not by the Russian President, but by torrential rains which swept down the hillsides and gushed through the area around Krymsk, the worst affected residential centre. 2,700 people were evacuated from their homes. Some areas had one third of annual rainfall in just a few hours, after an entire month of heavy precipitation. Igor Chestin, of WWF Russia, states that some of the rainwater could have been retained by the forests if they had not been cut down and suggests a reforestation programme. The Russian authorities have denied claims that the flood was caused by the opening of sluice gates in the nearby Neberdzhayevskoye reservoir but claim that there were failings as regards providing a timely warning for all the residents. Vladimir Puchkov, Ministry of Emergency Situations, has claimed that a preliminary appraisal points towards work not being carried out properly to warn the population.