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Vladimir Putin held a meeting on matters concerning the Emergencies Ministry

October 8, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev reported on the actions taken after the October 7 emergency in the Ryazan Region, where a grass fire set off explosions at ammunition depot.

Over the past two days, the Emergencies Ministry has worked to increase the firefighting group and supply additional equipment to the villages damaged by the explosions at the munitions depot.

Sixteen people have been taken to hospital and over 20 structures have been damaged. As of now, the group deployed in the region includes some 1,500 people and 389 pieces of equipment. The Emergencies Ministry has dispatched 400 firefighters and 87 pieces of equipment there. On October 8, the group deployed in the emergency zone was reinforced with the airmobile rescue teams of the Ministry’s main departments for Moscow and the Tula Region, as well as of its Tula Rescue Centre.

Over 2,300 people have been evacuated for safety reasons from 14 villages located within 5 to 10 kilometres of the depot. Temporary accommodation centres have been organised at educational facilities and hospitals located at a safe distance from the seat of explosions, to accommodate the evacuees and provide them with basic necessities; 86 people have been placed at such temporary facilities. Other evacuees are staying with their relatives and friends.

A situations centre staffed with psychologists has been organised onsite, and a hotline established for the emergency has already received over 60 calls.

The staff and equipment of the Noginsk Rescue Centre and the Ministry’s Leader Centre for High Risk Rescue Operations are ready to join the operation any minute. 

* * *

The meeting participants also discussed the provision of technical equipment to the Emergencies Ministry departments.

In his remarks, the President said:

“As we agreed, today we will discuss the provision of new modern equipment to the departments of the Emergencies Ministry.

It is a matter of great importance and responsibility. We know with what dedication and professionalism the Emergencies Ministry personnel carry out their tasks in almost any circumstance; they promptly eliminate the consequences of accidents, natural disasters, floods and wild fires. There is a lot of work to do.

The rescuers’ efficient and fast work helps to save lives, protect people’s health and property, and minimise the consequences of accidents for the infrastructure and essential facilities in our cities and towns.

I should note that this directly affects public finances. This year, the funds allocated to compensate for the damage caused by emergencies are minimal compared to previous years, when we usually allocated 6 to 8 billion rubles a year. And this is not because we are trying to or have to save money or are holding onto these rubles, but because there is less actual damage and this is very important. The actual damage is less thanks to the work of the Emergencies Ministry. System-wide prevention measures which we discussed multiple times are bringing necessary results.

We need to further increase the effectiveness of efforts to prevent emergencies, to try to minimise their negative impact and carry out additional measures to protect forests from fires, to prevent floods and to achieve progress in other areas. That is why rescue teams need to rely not only on their own professionalism, competence, courage and heroism but also on reliable equipment.

A major technical overhaul of the Emergencies Ministry departments began in the 2000s. Thanks to those measures, our rescuers have been able to ensure a timely and comprehensive response to emergencies, and to provide help and assistance to our foreign partners whenever we received such requests.

This year, thanks to the allocation of additional funding, the Emergencies Ministry was able to purchase almost 1,500 pieces of equipment, which is almost four times more than initially planned.

At the same time, I would like to point out at least two problems that have not been resolved.

First of all, a substantial part of the firefighting equipment, including planes, helicopters and rescue boats, is worn out. Minister Zinichev is not the only one to draw our attention to this. At my request, the issue has been considered at the Security Council, and its secretariat has confirmed this state of affairs. Meanwhile, old equipment is becoming obsolete sooner than we can supply new equipment. There is still a large quantity of equipment that has outlived its service life.

Second, the modernisation process has not reached a long-term or I would say system-wide level. The rescue units cannot make long-term modernisation plans, and new equipment is purchased randomly, without a system, which often increases the price. This is a very important matter as well.

In this connection, following our meeting today we must formulate and adopt a long-term programme for the modernisation of the Emergencies Ministry’s equipment until 2030, so that our rescue teams have the required equipment in accordance with the established standards.

I would like to point out that the implementation of this programme must be financially efficient when it comes to prices and after-sales maintenance. And lastly, we must start buying equipment directly from Russian producers, without any market intermediaries.

And, frankly speaking, it would be better to use a full business cycle, as you are well aware.

Let us listen to the reports prepared for this meeting before taking the decisions needed to settle all of the above problems.”

The meeting was attended by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disaster Relief Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov.

October 8, 2020, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region