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Meeting on floods and wildfires in Russian regions

May 26, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The President held a meeting, via videoconference, on the situation with floods and wildfires in the Russian regions.

Taking part in the meeting were Transport Minister Yevgeny Ditrikh, Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin, Acting Head of Komi Republic Vladimir Uyba, Trans-Baikal Territory Governor Alexander Osipov, Vologda Region Governor Oleg Kuvshinnikov, and Acting Governor of the Irkutsk Region Igor Kobzev.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

Mr Zinichev, we discussed floods and wildfires in the Russian regions exactly a month ago.

The situation is changing, and I would like to listen to your report and to what our colleagues from the other regions have to say about where the situation is more complicated and what measures the federal and regional authorities must take to resolve the problem and, most importantly, to support the people. Our current priority, that is, the fight against the coronavirus infection, must not overshadow the need to deal with the ongoing issues, which are rapidly becoming the key priority for many people, for hundreds and even thousands of people. Of course, the loss of your home endangers your very life.

Let us get down to work. First of all, I would like to hear the Emergencies Minister. Mr Zinichev, go ahead, please.

Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev: Good afternoon, Mr President,

As for the floods, they are occurring around Russia in accordance with our forecasts, and the flood season is almost over. As usual, the breakup of ice and the spring floods in Yakutia presented problems, but they have not reached supercritical levels. We believe that the ice drift season in Yakutia and the rest of Russia will end this week.

During the flood in the republic, 73 household plots were flooded in two localities. As for business sites, I can note a runway at Zyryanka Airfield. But now the floodwater has already subsided, the runway is dry, and transport corridors have been organised.

In total, 231 temporary accommodation centres (TAC) were opened, but only one was actually used; six people stayed there.

An unusual flood situation has developed in the Northwestern Federal District. We can talk about this as a second wave associated with a protracted Atlantic cyclone, with a large amount of precipitation falling in the Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions, the Komi Republic and the Nenets Autonomous Area. In total, 544 residential buildings, more than 2,500 household plots, 12 low-water bridges, and 26 road sections were flooded in the Northwestern Federal District. I would like to note that the flooding of residential buildings is not critical.

The response involves the Unified State Emergency Prevention and Relief System consisting of 673 people and 262 units of equipment. Thirty TACs were opened. So far, only two are being used, where 21 people are staying. Targeted assistance is being provided, a damage assessment commission is onsite, and, according to our forecasts, the situation should stabilise in the next five days.

In total, as of May 26, 491 residential buildings, 1,461 household plots, 14 low-water bridges and 10 road sections are located in the flooded areas in 13 Russian regions. Boat crossings were organised in 22 localities that were cut off from the rest of the territory. The public life support systems have not been disrupted. The necessary efforts are being carried out.

As for fires, since the beginning of the year, 5,626 wildfires have been recorded in Russia affecting a total area of ​​over 852,000 hectares. But if we compare this with the same period last year, we should say that while the number of fires stayed practically the same, the area affected has decreased by 30 percent. As a result of fires spreading to localities, 251 buildings were destroyed, including 48 residential ones. Again, compared to last year, the number of residential buildings destroyed by fire decreased by almost 30 percent.

Currently, there are 73 wildfire beds in the Far Eastern Federal District, Siberia and the Northwestern Federal District affecting a total area of ​​3–4 hectares of active burning: the Far Eastern Federal District – 28 fire beds, the Siberian Federal District – 42 fire beds, the Northwestern Federal District – 3 fire beds.

State of emergency in forests was declared in four Russian regions – across the entire Trans-Baikal Territory, one district in the Republic of Tuva, one district in the Republic of Khakassia, and one in the Irkutsk Region. A special fire protection plan was introduced in 49 Russian regions. All the necessary work is carried out by the regions and the Aerial Forest Protection Service and the Emergencies Ministry, including aviation. The Emergencies Ministry made 109 flights to extinguish fires and discharged water 399 times during this season. We are working hard, Mr President.

This concludes my report.


Vladimir Putin: I would like to draw the attention of our colleagues who are here with us and those who are dealing with their current problems and are not taking part in our meeting to the following: 36 localities have been flooded in the Northwestern Federal District alone, which includes 484 residential buildings.

Yes, I heard what has just been said – there is no emergency and no burned buildings. But we have just had a tragedy: all the buildings burned down in one locality. There are people living there who need our and your support. Therefore, I would like to draw the attention of all governors where such disasters happen to the following: you should not forget about the current, sometimes very important and complicated, problems everywhere where they occur in addition to the coronavirus problem. I would like to repeat this once again. It is necessary to get in touch with every family, to help these people, to lend your shoulder to them. I am hoping that you will work in this vein.

Mr Zinichev, I would like to ask you to sum up everything that is happening in the regions and report to me separately.

Yevgeny Zinichev: Will do.

Vladimir Putin: I have already spoken about the Irkutsk Region. Far from everything has been done there, and I have doubts about the pace of work. You said the pace of work is good. Maybe it is good in some places, but we need to look at what is happening in other areas. We will do this soon and make adjustments if need be.

Thank you everyone and all the best.

May 26, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region