Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, Rostov Region Governor Vasily Golubev and Volgograd Region Governor Andrei Bocharov updated the President on relief measures that have been taken following the fires.
Vladimir Putin issued instructions to provide the necessary assistance to the fire victims.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, or more precisely, good evening.
I want to hear your reports on the situation in Rostov-on-Don and the Volgograd Region.
Unfortunately, the scale of the disasters is huge. Judging by the documents available to me and by the Emergencies Ministry reports, the fires have affected a large number of populated areas with some 600,000 of population. This is serious.
I regret to say that there have been deaths and other casualties in both cases. The Emergencies Minister has told me that they are considering the possibility of arson in both cases.
I want to hear what you have to say and how the relief efforts are proceeding.
And second, I want the Emergencies Minister and the heads of these regions to tell me what they are doing to help people in Rostov-on-Don. The Government issued an instruction on August 28 to allocate funds for helping the fire victims. This involves one-time payments for the full or partial loss of property and also financial assistance to the families of those who have died in these fires.
An interdepartmental group is still assessing the damage in the Volgograd Region. I want to know how far this work has proceeded, how long it will take, at least tentatively, and when a decision on relief assistance can be taken.
Let us begin with Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov. Go ahead, please.
Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov: Mr President, we received reports of an emergency situation in the Ust-Donetsky District of the Rostov Region on August 17. The situation was subsequently complicated by a big fire in Rostov-on-Don.
We formed a large relief group quickly, which included the aircraft of the Emergencies Ministry, the Defence Ministry and the National Guard, as well as land forces. We have organised the operation of the emergency commission for the Rostov Region as well as of the heads of local governments. Losses in this dramatic situation were minimal, thanks to the energetic measures and prompt evacuation of the people.
Assessment teams have largely completed their review of the scale of the tragedy. The Government adopted an instruction today and has allocated funds for Rostov-on-Don. Tomorrow we plan to complete the provision of financial assistance to the fire victims and also compensation for the loss of basic necessities and to those who have been injured in the fire.
Regarding the Volgograd Region, where the weather conditions were difficult and the scale of fire very large, we promptly dispatched heavy Il-76 aircraft with air spray tanks and Be-200ES aircraft, as well as helicopters to the region. This was done thanks to the energetic work of the emergencies commission for the Volgograd Region and cooperation with the federal group. These facilities have been used to evacuate people from those populated areas where their life and health were endangered. Also, we made the decision to evacuate five children’s summer camps. The children were safely returned to their parents.
We are also working with the people. At this point, 21 assessment teams are completing their work. The Government has prepared a decision on the allocation of funds for financial assistance to the victims and for compensation for the loss of basic necessities. We plan to complete these federal payments by the end of the week. Respective allocations from the regional budgets of the Rostov and Volgograd regions have been coordinated as well.
We have promptly organised temporary accommodation centres, and a special commission has analysed the situation. The standards of relief assistance at these centres are very high in Rostov-on-Don. Similar centres were also established in the Volgograd Region, but it turned out that there was no need for them.
I accompanied the governors to the disaster areas, where we talked to the people who have been affected by the fires. Overall, the situation was properly monitored, although there were minor hitches.
Our current joint priority is to provide targeted practical assistance to every victim and, of course, to settle all other issues, including the provision of housing.
This concludes my report.