Russia Introduces New Emergency Alert System

MOSCOW, January 1 (RIA Novosti) – A new system to urgently inform Russians about emergency situations has been created in about half of Russian regions by Wednesday.

So far, fully operational systems have been created in only 39 Russian regions out of 83, while 40 regions said they were almost ready, the Russian emergencies ministry said. Four regions reported to the ministry that they were not ready yet.

A presidential decree to establish a new disaster alert system was issued in the wake of a fatal flooding in southern Russia in 2012.

Some 170 people died, and most of them were sleeping in their homes when flash floods swept through the city of Krymsk and surrounding areas in July 2012. Many of the victims – mainly elderly residents – would have survived if they had received the alarm 10-15 minutes earlier.

The local meteorological service issued alerts warning of possible torrential rains and flash floods on July 5, but local authorities took no action before the floods hit the following day.

Regional emergency officials, who had at least three hours advance knowledge of the impending disaster, say they broadcast flood warnings on local Krasnodar region television channels, despite the fact that torrential rains had cut power to much of the area.

Few people in Krymsk said they were aware that the town had a flood warning system. Investigators said that only several dozen of Krymsk residents were informed about the impending disaster.


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