The fourth meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Emergency Situations and seventeenth meeting of Joint U.S.-Russia Cooperation Committee on Emergency Situations took place on 25 June 2013 in Washington.
Addressing the present at the meeting, Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations Mr. Vladimir Puchkov noted that U.S.-Russian cooperation in the area of protection against natural and man-made disasters was of strategic importance and directly supported by the Presidents of Russian and USA. The Minister pointed out that the cooperation was developing very fast and efficiently and there are new areas of cooperation, which allowed not only high-level support, but constant extension. This year particularly one of the priorities in joint activity of the two countries was monitoring and forecasting emergency situations.
In his speech Minister Puchkov stressed that the number of disasters grows constantly. “At the last meeting of the working group we discussed the possible meteorite threats and already this year we faced such in Chelyabinsk Region.” In addition, the past year saw floods and abnormal snowfalls in Russia, fires in Colorado, Sandy hurricane and a tornado in Oklahoma.
In his turn Craig Fugate, Administrator of FEMA thanked The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry for support in responding to Sandy hurricane. “FEMA learned a lot from this situation. We have revised many criteria in responding to hurricanes,” – said Mr. Fugate.
Minister Puchkov offered his U.S. colleagues to set up joint working groups of experts, who would be responding to emergencies in the Russian Federation or the United States. The FEMA delegation saw the offer positively.
The Russian Minister also drew attention to the necessity of coordination work. Considering the uniqueness of each emergency situation and diversity of their conditions, the response system should be adequate to possible challenges. “Response operations have to be coordinated as only in this case activities of all subsystems give positive results,” – noted Minister Puchkov. According to The Russian Minister it is the actions of the coordinator of the emergency situation on which depends how much efforts will be needed to overcome the aftermath and health of thousands of people.
The parties also discussed involvement of voluntary organizations in emergency prevention and response and problems concerning rescue operations at the facilities of mineral resource industry. They discussed cooperation between and development of voluntary organizations as well.
In general, the Russian Minister was satisfied with the development of U.S.-Russian partnership in emergency response and prevention.