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Meeting on spring flood and wild fire relief efforts

May 15, 2017, Irkutsk

On the way back from a working visit to China, Vladimir Putin arrived in Irkutsk, where he held a meeting on relief efforts following spring floods and wild fires in the Urals, Siberian, and Far Eastern federal districts.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

I have asked you to meet here today to discuss the aftermath of the recent disasters, the relief efforts underway, and measures to fight wild fires, spring floods and natural disasters.

Aside from my colleagues from the Government, here with us today are Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Yegor Borisov, Governor of Irkutsk Region Sergei Levchenko, Alexei Tsydenov (Buryatia), and Vladimir Yakushev (Tyumen Region). I have also asked the heads of a number of municipalities to join us: Mayor of Sayansk in Irkutsk Region Oleg Borovsky, Head of the Administration of Ishim Municipal District in Tyumen Region Sergei Votyakov, Mayor of Kirensky District of Irkutsk Region Kirill Svistelin, and Head of Zona Municipality in Alarsky District of Irkutsk Region Andrei Shepetya.

We will discuss relief efforts following wild fires in Siberia. Let us start with this. As you know, the most serious situation is in Irkutsk Region and in Buryatia. The problems are not as bad in Buryatia, but they exist nonetheless. Overall, dozens of homes have been burned down in both regions. The firefighters’ well-organised work has ensured that there have been no deaths, fortunately. This is the most important thing, something I would like to stress.

I hope to hear reports from you today on what you are doing to support the people affected, including in terms of temporary shelter and medical and material assistance.

I have already spoken to many of you on the phone. The head of the Emergencies Ministry reported to me, as well as heads of regions, but I would like to hear the latest information.

As you may know, cash payments to citizens for loss of property are already being made. I am asking the regional authorities to keep tabs on this issue. If there is a need to help people draft relevant documents and statements, please do so. Being experienced people, you are well aware of what I mean. It is necessary to respond as promptly as possible to the affected people’s claims, and to reissue all necessary documents – passports and others – without needless red tape.

Another important issue, and perhaps a priority, is repairs, and the construction of housing to replace what was destroyed by fire, or acquisition of new housing on the secondary market. There is much to do in this area. While I was in the car with Mr Levchenko and the plenipotentiary envoy, we began discussing this issue. They have ideas of their own on this account, at least in Irkutsk Region, and they will report on this issue now. In any case, it is necessary to act without delay, so that the people are able to move into a new home as soon as possible.

Please report on how this will be addressed in all the regions: how much money is required, whether it is available or not, what are the sources, and what kind of assistance is needed from the federal authorities.

Now, with regard to the flood. It affected areas of the Central, Siberian, Urals, Volga, and Northwest Federal Districts. Residential houses, social facilities, and transport infrastructure have been flooded. The Tyumen Region suffered the most; I will not list all of them. Mr Yakushev will say more about this.

I would also like you to report on how the evacuation is organised, and how the affected people are being accommodated. Mr Yakushev said that there is a small number of people in temporary accommodation centres, but still I would like to hear what, at this point in time, is happening in this respect in Tyumen Region, and other regions, what is being done to protect infrastructure and provide vital services in the flooded area.

In general, the sequence of actions in such emergency situations has been worked out, and the relevant regulatory framework is in place. I am asking you to promptly provide the citizens, whose housing or property have been affected, with all assistance they are entitled to by law, as well as to conduct a detailed assessment of damage to infrastructure, residential and social facilities, and to outline a plan of specific actions for restoring them.

In closing, I would like to emphasise once again that it is important to conduct the full range of restoration work in the regions affected by floods and fires as quickly as possible. I expect that federal agencies, regional and municipal authorities will act in a seamless and coordinated manner, and with full understanding of their responsibility as they work to resolve this matter.


May 15, 2017, Irkutsk