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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Plant Blamed for Fatal Flooding

Flooding which led to numerous deaths in four villages in central Russia was caused by improper operation of a dam that collapsed, a spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry said Tuesday.

Marina Ryiklina said 12 bodies were recovered from the Tirlyan river after floodwaters burst over the dam Sunday, but Russian television said there were at least 31 deaths. Another 70 people were missing.

Russian television estimated the damage at 8 billion rubles ($4 million).

The earthen dam, operated by a rolled-metal plant in Tirlyana, failed to hold back water after two days of torrential rain in the semi-autonomous republic of Bashkortostan in the southern Urals, 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow, Ryiklina said.

"The tragedy occurred because of irresponsibility on the part of the plant authorities," she said.

The dam was not properly maintained and the authorities failed to release water after the heavy rains, she said.