Russian president Vladimir Putin has held a conference call regarding wildfires in the country. He heard reports made by heads of concerned agencies and regions on suppression of wildfires and efforts being made to restore the lost property.
“Siberian Federal District is hit by wildfires that are damaging social facilities and residential buildings. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have been facing such a situation in regions and municipalities. Once more pay attention to what is happening in terms of fire safety this time of the year. I know that all of you are working hard, but I would like to hear what exactly is being done to bring the situation under control and help people,” Mr. President said.
Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov reported to the President on the readiness of management bodies, forces and facilities of the Single State Disaster Management System (SSDMS) to extinguish wildfires, on plans and prospects of handling current problems. The Minister said that the worst-hit area is Siberian Federal District where a state of emergency was declared in all regions on 28 April.
“A total fire ban has been declared in 51 Russian regions. By joinede efforts of the SSDMS forces we were able to save 283 settlements and more than 200 facilities and houses. Unfortunately, houses and social infrastructure in Buryatia, Irkutsk Region and some other regions were damaged because of strong wind, violation of fire safety and spread of fires on houses,” Mr. Puchkov said.
The Minister also reported on steps promptly taken by the working group of the Governmental Commission regarding accommodation of the affected population, delivery of relief goods to towns and villages and helping people restore the documents lost to fires.
“Joint groups are now working to make proposals on restoring houses. There is a decision of the RF Government to allocate 10 thousand rubles to each affected family, to pay compensations of 100,000 rubles for the lost property and to pay for accommodating the affected people in temporary shelters,” Mr. Puchkov said.
He also added that considering the forecast the SSDMS team was reinforced and now it has 135 thousand people and 28 thousand units of equipment. Heavy aircraft have also been provided by the Emergency Ministry, Defense Ministry and the Russian Guard.
Speaking to the heads of the affected regions, President Putin recommended them to focus on informing local residents on the progress of restoration. He also pointed out that the wildfire situation is a kind of competence check for region’s governors.
“You should speak to people directly and support them, while federal and regional authorities will do their best to restore what has been lost in the shortest possible time,” added the President.
He thanked citizens who “responded to the situation in prompt and heartfelt way” and helped the affected people.
“I know that people in both Buryatia and Irkutsk Region took initiative responded promptly. They took every effort to help the affected. But I expect not only ordinary people, but all the authorities concerned as well to respond professionally and at high level, as their duty is,” Mr. Putin said.
Concluding the meeting, the President expressed his confidence that the Russian Emergency Ministry would hand the wildfires both in Siberia and in other fire-prone regions.
“The Emergency Ministry will take all necessary steps to prevent fires from spreading both in Siberia and other affected regions,” the President pointed out.
Vladimir Putin holds videoconference meeting on wildfire suppression in Siberian Federal District