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YABLOKO: Governor Tkachyov and government of the Krasnodar region should be held liable for the tragedy in Krymsk

Press Release

July 31, 2012

Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Alexander Tkachyov, his deputies and officials of the regional Emergency Ministry Department should be included into suspects in investigation of the causes of flooding in Krymsk, South Russia. Such a statement was made by YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin at today's press conference, which drew up the first results of YABLOKOs investigation of the causes of the flood.

Activists from the North Caucasus Environmental Watch, Andrei Rudomakha, leader of the Krasnodar branch of YABLOKO, Yugeny Vitishko, chairman of the Tuapse branch of YABLOKO and Yugeny Pimkin, resident of Volgograd region whose son died in a flood in Gelendzhik trying to save people, also participated in the press-conference.

According to YABLOKOs activists, a natural calamity coupled with negligence of the governments lead to such a large number of casualties in Krymsk. No system for public notification in case of emergency had been created in the region prone to flooding. Possible negative consequences of economic activities in the region that may lead to flooding had been also neglected. The governments learned nothing from the experience of the disaster in 2002, when a flood in Krymsk killed 62 people.

Activists stated that in such a situation the risks of further flooding during severe rainfalls would only increase.

At Sergei Mitrokhin's proposal, the press conference began with a minute of silence in memory of those who died during this terrible tragedy.

In his speech Sergei Mitrokhin noted that YABLOKO had been actively involved in provision of aid to the victims from the early hours of the tragedy opening the first Aid Centre for the victims in Krymsk. Simultaneously YABLOKO had begun its own investigation into the causes of the disaster. According to Mitrokhin, who had been working in the Aid Centre in Krymsk in the first days of the tragedy, the residents were concerned about the causes the flood and absence of any notification of the coming disaster no less than about all the aid issues.

Now we can see a trend to father all the responsibility on the local administration and there is no hint that negligence of the regional and Krasnodar Territory officials will be also investigated, Mitrokhin said. However, YABLOKOs investigation indicates that a significant share of the responsibility should lie of the regional and Krasnodar Territory officials.

According to Mitrokhin, a mere analysis of normative acts demonstrated criminal negligence of the officials. There was no functioning system for warning people of an emergency in Krymsk. This was widely reported by the media and confirmed by victims, although such a system had had to be created in accordance with Resolution No 13 dated January 17, 2006, signed by Governor Tkachyov. The control over implementation of the regulation was vested entrusted to Deputy Governor A. Ivanov, however, he did not work in the administration on the day of the flood. Thus, implementation of the resolution was not controlled at all. Also the administration neglected Emergency Ministry Order No 687 of 14 November 2008 setting the procedure for informing the public about emergencies.

In addition, for seven years there had been no allocation of funds for establishment of a system for alerting people about emergencies.

Mitrokhin separately focused on the causes of flooding of three villages Novoukrainsky, Armyansky and Sheptalsky in the Krymsk District. According to YABLOKOs experts, uncontrolled economic activities of private firms that had voluntarily broadened a number of ponds adjusting them to their commercial purposes added to the disaster. Earthen dams constructed without complying with safety standards were easily ruined by the flow of water and water poured into the villages.

"I think the main culprit of the tragedy from the part of the state is the Kuban Basin Water Management Department in charge of all water bodies of the Krasnodar Territory. It is a corrupted structure that improperly performed its duties assigned to it by the Water Code of the Russian Federation," said Yugeny Vitishko, leader of the Tuapse branch of YABLOKO. According to him, such a tragedy could have happened anywhere in the Krasnodar Territory, as all the water reservoirs were in poor condition. And only four of 16 reservoirs were legalised. All other were illegal and constructed with serious violations.

The scope of the disaster could have been even greater in case of a breakthrough of Neverdjayevsky reservoir and a reservoir in the Chubukova gap, then such a probability was very high, added Andrei Rudomakha, coordinator of the North Caucasus Environmental Watch and leader of the Krasnodar branch of YABLOKO.

According to Rudomakha, the roots of the tragedy were uncontrolled economic activities in the region and lack of coordination between the departments of regional authorities. "Local administration officials arrested today could not alone prevent the catastrophe," he said.

"The governments learned nothing from the flooding of 2002, the region still have not got a normal system for monitoring and forecasting, channels for free passage of water through the city have not been built, the river channel has not been cleaned of silt and mud and dams are unable to withstand the flow of water during floods. All these factors together led to many victims," he said. Rudomakha also reiterated that a large part of the responsibility lies on Governor Tkachyov who did not take any actions to protect people (the last flood occurred in Krymsk on April 8, 2011, when 86 houses were affected).

Yugeny Pimkin, resident of Kalach-on-Don whose son, Mikhail Pimkin had died in a flood along with his fiancee Tatiana Stepanenko and their common friend Olga Barykina, also spoke at the press conference. The young people were on vacation in Gelendzhik and when flood began they tried to save a drowning teenager. Rushing to the rescue into water, the young people were killed by high voltage from a bared wire which fell into water as it had not been properly fixed on a pillar with advertising posters. Pimkin noted that the young people died because of criminal negligence of the local authorities.


See also:Mit

Mitrokhin demands from Public Prosecutor General to bring to justice the officials responsible for flooding of three villages of the Krymsk district. Press Relese, July 16, 2012

Yugeny Vitishko: We are working 24 hours a day. We have made bunks and sleep in turn. Yugeny Vitishko about the Aid Centre in Krymsk. Special for the YABLOKO web-site. July 10, 2012

YABLOKOs Aid Centre for the victims of the flood in the southern Russia keeps working in Krymsk. Press Release, July 10, 2012.

Flood victims left without help in Krymsk held a spontaneous rally. Press Relese, July 9, 2012

YABLOKO leader arrived in Krymsk with a truck of humanitarian aid. Press Release, July 9, 2012.

Criminal negligence of officials led to deaths of people in the Krimskiy district, the Krasnodar Area. Statement by YABLOKO Chairman. July 7, 2012.

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