9 Jul 2012

National day of mourning declared in Russia

9:19 pm on 9 July 2012

President Vladimir Putin of Russia has declared a national day of mourning after 152 people died in flash floods in the southern region of Krasnodar.

Mr Putin, who was criticised for his slow reaction to disasters earlier in his career, flew to the Krasnodar region on Saturday to deal with the first big disaster of his new presidency, Reuters reports.

He has ordered money to be put aside for building new homes for victims of the flooding.

Mr Putin has also demanded that officials there explain the massive death toll.

Russian media report a criminal investigation has been opened into whether the deaths were caused by negligence.

Residents were caught unawares when two months of rain fell on Friday night, causing flash flooding and landslides.