Rostov flooding may be last drop for head of city administration Gorban
Rostov Administration lost the fight against the storm, which led to the catastrophic outcome for the city.
On June 30, Rostov suffered an almost biblical flooding. Incessant rains brought down trees and swamped streets, which practically paralyzed the movement in the city. Rail service, public transport, and air traffic were stopped because of the weather conditions, and the vehicular traffic is extremely restricted. The videos and images posted on the Internet make it look like a real apocalypse.
The disaster has already claimed its first lives. On the same evening, a 14-year-old girl died in the heart of Rostov. Eyewitnesses claim that a strong flow of water knocked her down and dragged under a car. Representatives of the Russian Investigative Committee in the Rostov Region have commented on the situation. According to investigators, the girl spluttered with rainwater. A pre-investigation check has been initiated, which will result in a procedural decision.
The heavy rain in Rostov almost claimed the life of another person. The press service of the regional Investigative Committee said that a teenager suffered from electric shock due to the dangling power lines on the 1st Krasnodarskaya Street. He currently remains in the hospital.
At the same time, the head of Rostov Sergey Gorban stays dead calm and optimistic. Gorban stated that by the end of July 1, rescuers and utility service providers would deal with the disaster. "By the end of daylight, we’re going to eliminate the flooded areas and stabilize the living conditions of the population," he said at a press conference.
Victims have already been offered compensations: the parents of the dead girl can receive 500 thousand rubles, others - 200 thousand rubles each.However, it is obvious that it will take quite some time to "stabilize the living conditions of the population," since the scale of the disaster is way too massive. It has already been reported that a residential two-story house was destructed. According to the representative of the Civil Defense and Emergency Situations in Rostov-on-Don, from 20:00 to 3:00 on Thursday and Friday, the operations control center received 558 calls and 133 requests, with 58 of them associated with flooded houses, 12 – with accidents on power lines, 8 – with vehicle accidents, 2 – with landslides, and 1 – with the collapse of the walls of an unfit building.
People expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the actions of the municipal authorities and the head of the city administration Sergey Gorban, in particular. As it turns out, such destruction could be the result of problems in the system of storm water drain. Director of the specialized municipal unitary enterprise for repairs, construction and operation of artificial structures, Yury Krivolapov, assessed the level of quality of sewage. The expert says that of 100 km, only 22 km of the stormwater network will remain by the end of the year. It turns out that nobody took care of about 80% of the networks since Soviet times. "The storm sewers in Rostov currently make for 10% of the whole road network, while the standard is 35-40%, if we want to drain water without any problems," the expert said, adding that it is necessary to have at least 400 km for normal functioning. Instead of this, new buildings are being constructed on the existing pipes, which contradicts the safety rules.
Professor of the Urban Planning Department at the Academy of Architecture and Arts under Southern Federal University, Natalya Zinchenko, argues that the project of the required sewerage system was developed in 1992. However, its implementation never started.
However, the head of Rostov is not confused by the problems in the system, which is vital to the city’s well-being. "If in 24 years nothing has been done to create a good storm water system in the city, then I cannot possibly change the situation in only a year," Sergey Gorban said. He alleged that the city lacks funding for the repair of storm sewers, and that the money would not be enough until the 2018 World Cup. Gorban plans to charge citizens for the storm water system at the expense of water runoff tariff. "First, it will only concern the industrial and commercial enterprises, but in the long term everyone will have to pay for the runoff," Gorban said.
Scientist Alexander Vodyanik harshly criticized the current city government, accusing it of the catastrophic consequences of the flood. He stated that the administration had allowed lawlessness in urban development, which resulted in the decline of the city. Referring to the case of the RIO shopping mall, the scientists tells about violations in the construction sphere. For instance, the lack of control led to the fact that a building blocked the bar, which was part of the storm drain system of the Northern Residential Area and a number of major districts of the city.
Chairman of the Committee on Urban Planning and Land Resources of Rostov Duma, Valery Levchenko, also criticized the city authorities. He pointed to the fragility of the roadbed, which should have a minimum warranty period of three years, but in reality become demolished much quicker. Levchenko puts the blame for such spending on the city administration. Investors receive pieces of land without preparation, without communications and without sensible requirements for construction. As a result, a hotel is built right on top of the storm water infrastructure, while cars are floating along the new roads.
The catastrophic consequences of disaster and the feebleness of the authorities in dealing with it have become yet another reason for the complaints against the head of the city administration. Gorban has been rigidly criticized in recent months. In May, the public was enraged by his behavior at the meeting with a businessman (the contractor under the state contract), when the official said that he refused to give back the money the businessman legally claimed.
The grievances of the city residents have resulted in a petition for the resignation of Sergey Gorban. The author of the petition said that the heavy rains had claimed lives, while the storm water system had failed to do its work. However, this attempt to remove the mayor from his office is not the first. The first initiative to oust the city manager failed, although the charges were pretty serious - corruption, usurpation of city government, ignoring the views of ordinary citizens, and rent-seeking behavior.
The meteorologists report that heavy rains are likely to stay in Rostov at least until the middle of Saturday. It is hard to imagine what scale of destruction and what amount of victims await the city by that time. We can only guess if the defeat in the struggle with nature will be the last straw for the citizens.