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Russia floods death toll now 93

Putin comforts villager
President Putin comforts a local in the southern village of Barsukovskaya  

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- The death toll from flooding in southern Russia -- the worst in 10 years -- has climbed to 93 with tens of thousands fleeing their devastated homes.

President Vladimir Putin castigated local authorities on Saturday for not doing enough to help victims.

Two local officials in the Stavropol region have already face criminal charges for failure to inform people of the impending flood, the newspaper Izvestia reported Saturday.

The floods have caused more than $385 million in damage, a figure which is expected to rise.

Heavy flooding in southern Russia leaves thousands homeless. CNN's Eileen Hsieh reports (June 23)

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On Friday, the Russian president toured the affected regions and declared that the devastating impact of the floods could have been prevented.

"We have visited the camp set up by the emergency situations workers, the best one, I was told," Putin said on RTR television on Saturday.

"If this was the best one, I wonder how people live in other camps," Putin said. "Bad, everything is very bad, I haven't seen anything good at all."

Putin said he saw victims sitting in the camps naked and barefoot, sleeping in tents erected in mud. "We must do everything for them to have food and drinking water and a little money.

Forty-seven people lost their lives in the Stavropol region, 31 in the Krasnodar region, 10 in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region, four in North Ossetia and one in Kabardino-Balkeria, the duty officer at the regional Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Putin said poor preparation by local authorities had significantly increased the region's misery.

"I've said good things about the rescuers" from the army and the Ministry for Emergency Situations. "Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the local powers, the regional powers, and to a certain extent, about federal powers."

Flooded Chechen village
A local examines a dead chicken in the Chechen village of Gvardeiskoye  

"If things had been put in place earlier, maybe the damage would have been minimised and the victims would have been fewer.

The system of notification practically didn't exist," the president said.

Starting last week, torrential rains caused devastation in nine of Russia's southern regions, forcing more than 87,000 people to flee their flooded homes.

Roads, bridges, rail lines and gas pipelines have been damaged, and some 110 towns and villages were left without electricity as a result of the flooding.

One of the major dangers now is the possible spread of diseases such as intestinal infections, hepatitis A or anthrax because of the disaster.


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