SOCHI (QHA) - Sochi residents blame Games for ecological damage, Reuters informs. The first warning of the problems that eventually swept away Irina Vorochkova's house near Russia's Olympic city of Sochi came when the garden began shifting, then the ground slid away downhill towards a river. As builders worked feverishly to get the Black Sea resort ready for winter games so closely tied to President Vladimir Putin's legacy, they failed to notice the effects their work was having on the village below. Putin is expected to spend more than $50 billion to show off Russia's modern face at the Games in Sochi, a Black Sea resort on the edge of the Caucasus Mountains. Moscow promised to set "new environmental standards" in Olympic construction. Complaints about construction, along with international concerns about gay rights and security, threaten Putin's efforts to improve Russia's image through the games. The Sochi 2014 organizing committee says construction has minimized harmful carbon emissions, and companies carrying out construction say they are sticking to their promises to meet international standards in protecting the environment. But some ecologists say the damage is only the beginning and that construction may have put the region in the path of potential ecological disasters, including poisoned drinking water and flooding.

QHA