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Russian President Calls For Action After Floods


A local resident passes by a damaged car stuck in a flooded street in the town of Krymsk in the Krasnodar region on July 8.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded checks on flood warnings.

Putin spoke after visiting the Black Sea coast, where more than 150 people were killed in a flash flood on July 6.

Putin ordered investigators to find out whether local authorities had given residents enough warning to get to safety.

Two months' average rain fell in a few hours in the Krasnodar region.

The Interior Ministry said that the majority of the dead were elderly who were unable to escape the sudden deluge.

Russia's state water-resource agency rejected speculation that a release of water from a nearby reservoir was responsible for the flooding in Krymsk, worst hit by the natural disaster.

Officials said the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, closed by the flooding, could be opened later on July 8. The port is the main outlet for wheat and a key loading port for oil.

A spokesman for Transneft, a state-owned oil company, said regional transport was in a state of collapse, and all trains heading to and from Novorossiisk were suspended.

The flooding damaged thousands of homes, forcing survivors to take shelter in tent camps set up outside Krymsk by emergency services teams.

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, and Reuters