Russia Cleans Up Olympic Host City Sochi After Flooding

Russia deployed 1,780 emergency-service workers to clear floods in the Sochi region as the Black Sea resort prepares to hosts the Winter Olympics.

The task force pumped out water from waterlogged homes and reinforced roads and river banks in low-lying areas, according to a government statement. The subtropical city will host Russia’s first winter games from Feb. 7-23.

Delegates from the International Olympic Committee are visiting Sochi this week to make a final check that preparations for the games are on track. An IOC official said by phone the visit hasn’t been affected by the flooding. The rain had decreased and stopped in some areas overnight, the Russian government said in a statement.

Russia has spent more than $50 billion to prepare the region, including constructing roads and train service to connect the coastal hub to be used for the opening ceremony and ice skating events and the mountains that will host the skiing and downhill competitions.

In February, President Vladimir Putin dismissed Akhmed Bilalov as an Olympic committee vice president and head of North Caucasus Resorts, which is developing the ski areas. Putin criticized an almost sevenfold increase in costs to 8 billion rubles ($249 million) and a more than two-year delay on the project by Bilalov’s Krasnaya Polyana.

Russia has also been criticized because of an anti-gay law that was passed in July that would ban “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. Individuals who violate the law could be fined 5,000 rubles and non-Russian may be jailed for 15 days and deported.

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