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Meeting on flood relief efforts

September 4, 2014, Gorno-Altaisk

Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Gorno-Altaisk on disaster relief work following last year’s floods in various parts of the country.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

Today we will review the disaster relief work following the floods last year and recently, in 2014. As you know, in late May this year torrential rains and the overflow of rivers caused flooding in the Republic of Altai, Tyva, Khakassia, in Altai Territory, while last year the Far East was severely hit by floods.

I have recently been to the Far East, met with our colleagues there, but decided to have a meeting on flood relief work here, so that we can discuss both the problems of the Far East, talk about the progress made there, and also the problems of this region.

A lot has been done in the regions of the Far East in the past year: homes, roads, bridges, public and engineering facilities were restored or built anew. At the same time, considering the scale of destruction, certain things remain unresolved. As we often say, we need to push hard and finish it off. Today we will cover all such issues.

Here in Siberia, fortunately, natural calamities have not caused as much damage as in the Far East; largely due to the measures we took in advance. I hope that the lessons of 2013 were not wasted and our colleagues managed to take these preventive measures, which made it possible to avoid serious consequences.

At the same time I would like to note that here in Siberia, the weather has also taught us another important lesson: 250 towns and villages were flooded. More than 80 thousand people were affected by the floods, social and transportation infrastructure was damaged, along with agricultural lands.

To be exact, 28.3 thousand garden plots, 6.5 thousand hectares of agricultural crops, 403 kilometres of power lines and over 140 social facilities were damaged; 4.2 thousand head of cattle and 9.5 thousand birds were killed; 4,678 people were provided with temporary accommodation.

We had a videoconference to discuss disaster relief work in the regions of Siberia in early June. Now let us consider all these issues together. I would like to hear progress reports from the heads of all the affected regions, with an indication of areas that require extra federal support.

I would like to stress the importance of precisely wording your requirements and coordinating efforts at all levels of authority. We need to rule out any red tape, specifically when we are helping people.

One of the most sensitive issues is the repair and construction of housing. I would like to use this opportunity to draw the attention of heads of the Russian Federation regions to the fact that we need to more actively use insurance mechanisms, we have to work with the people and with companies here, with all the economic activity participants.

In the Far East, the rebuilding of housing is in its final stage. The goal was to have people move into new homes by October 1 of this year. This was the deadline we set.

I would like to hear a progress report on these efforts today. There is slightly less than a month left until the deadline, and it must be met.

I would like to remind you that overall, we need 4,380 homes in the Far East Federal District. I will not list everything that has been done – it is a long list. Our colleagues report that they are on schedule. Let us hear them again to make sure this is the case.

Now over to Siberia: there housing restoration has only just begun. This is natural, because this event that required extra efforts on our part occurred only recently.

I also expect to hear a report today on how this work is organised, what has been done to provide people with temporary accommodation, what amount of funding is required to repair existing and build new housing.

As of August 25, 4 thousand homes required capital repairs in the Republic of Altai. In Altai Territory, the calculations are still underway. I would like you to speed up this work. We will get back to this later today. A total of 374 families need new homes. Neither the Construction Ministry nor the Emergencies Ministry have yet received funding requests.

Clearly, there was no way we could finish this work soon, but we should not deter providing the relevant documents. This has to be done quickly, in a professional manner and with high quality.

Bureaucratic red tape has led to delays in delivering federal funding to the regions: the money started coming in only in September. There was nothing on August 29. I would like my colleagues at federal and regional agencies, and the regional leaders to focus on this.

The Finance Ministry should react in a timely fashion, but the regions of the Russian Federation, in this case the Siberian Federal District should properly file all the documents. We all understand that without a precise assessment the federal agencies cannot make payments and transfer funds.

The Emergencies Ministry should also join this work, as it usually does. There is nothing new here, everything is quite clear. Therefore, the federal authorities, including the Finance Ministry, and the regional heads should complete this work in a timely, professional manner with high quality. My request is to do it all comprehensively and carefully, without breaking the deadlines.

The Finance, Emergencies and Construction ministries should also assist the regions in assessing the damage and filing all the relevant documents. Funding should be allocated to the regions as soon as possible, so that they can commence repair and construction works without delay.

Winter will soon be here. Of course, new technologies make it possible to get everything done in any weather, nevertheless, we all understand that conditions here are harsh and not everything can be done in winter here. The first frost may occur in a few weeks. Considering the time deficit, we should not delay.

This fully applies to the reconstruction of facilities in the power engineering and the housing and utilities sectors. We have to do everything to ensure that there are no failures or setbacks in the coming heating season. This applies to both Siberia and the Far East.

Next. The floods in Siberia destroyed and damaged 533 kilometres of roads and 326 bridges. The total damage is estimated at 4.067 billion rubles. As of August 29, the money was not allocated. I have just heard that there is general agreement, a Government resolution has been drafted, but this has to be completed quickly.

Today we will consider the sources of financing and the funding procedure. We will decide on the amounts required for this year and allocations from the 2015 budget. There has been significant destruction, so obviously repair works on some large facilities will be continued next year. I would also like to hear a progress report today on repair work on the Far East transportation infrastructure.

We will also review the support provided to agricultural producers in the areas hit by floods and see what help is being provided to those who lost their harvests on their personal garden plots.

I would like to remind you that we first introduced this kind of aid after the flood in the Far East last year. People living in Siberia are aware of it and expect to receive the same kind of aid. I would like the Agriculture Ministry to make their proposals in this respect.

There is another thing I would like to draw your attention to here. Federal authorities have not yet developed a methodology to assess the damage inflicted to personal garden plots and the reparation procedure – this is why people have still not been paid in Siberia. I would like to ask the Agriculture Ministry to provide the relevant calculations as soon as possible.

Finally: flooding occurs regularly in the Far East and Siberia. I would like to yet again draw the attention of the local authorities to the fact that there should be no capital construction on flood-prone territories without any special flood-prevention measures being taken first. We should keep this under control.

Let us proceed with our discussion.


September 4, 2014, Gorno-Altaisk