Anthrax burial sites swept away in Russian flooding
Six of the burial sites were located in the republic of Ingushetia, with the others in the republic of Adygea and in the Krasnodar territory, the ministry said, as reported by the Interfax news agency.
The Russian health inspectorate declined to comment on the report, although the chief health official Gennady Onishchenko, currently visiting the flood-stricken area, earlier expressed concern over the dangers of burial sites for anthrax-infected animals being washed away by floods.
He told Interfax he had discussed the issue with veterinary experts and that it had been decided to vaccinate livestock that had not previously been immunized against the disease.
"In the Stavropol region, which was worst affected by floods, a lot of work to vaccinate livestock against anthrax has already been carried out," he said.
Anthrax bacteria routinely attack livestock, which can be protected by a vaccine, but can also attack humans, giving rise to fears of possible anthrax terror attacks.
The latest breakdown for flood victims supplied by the emergencies ministry indicated 47 people had died in the Stavropol region, 16 in the Krasnodar region, 10 from Karachayevo-Cherkessia, four from Chechnya, four from North Ossetia and one from Kabardino-Balkaria, ITAR-TASS news agency said.
Meanwhile prosecutors in the Stavropol region said they had opened two cases of criminal charges alleging negligence by local authorities in their response to the flooding as it swept through the region.
Robert Adelkhanyan, the chief prosecutor in the Stravropol region, said investigations had been opened into officials suspected of "concealing information about circumstances that posed a danger to the lives and health of people," Interfax said.
He said public officials had failed to coordinate activities adequately during the emergency, and that in many parts of the region rescue teams had not been properly equipped.
Copyright (c) 2002 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 06/28/2002 15:17:57
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