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Emergency Warning System Implemented in 39 Regions

Roughly half of the country's 83 regions have put a system in place that will warn their residents ahead of emergency situations.

So far the system is only fully operational in 39 regions, while 40 regions said they were almost ready, the Emergency Situations Ministry said Wednesday. Four regions told the ministry they were not prepared at all.

The new disaster alert system was ordered by a presidential decree issued in the wake of fatal flooding in the south of the country in 2012.

Most of the Krasnodar region's residents were sleeping in their homes when flash floods swept through the city of Krymsk and surrounding areas in July 2012. Many of the flood's victims — mainly elderly residents — would have survived had they received a warning 10 to 15 minutes earlier, experts say.

Regional emergency officials, who had at least three hours advance knowledge of the flood, say they broadcast flood warnings on local television channels, but investigators said that only several dozen of Krymsk's residents were informed about the impending disaster, which killed 170 people.

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