President Putin: Good Day, dear colleagues,
I am very happy to have the opportunity to meet with you and express my gratitude for the work – the enormous work – that you performed in providing aid to the victims in South-East Asia. Citizens of Russia and the entire world have once more seen the level of preparation of specialist rescuers from Russia, the level of their equipment, and their readiness to come to help those who are in need.
And indeed, Russia was one of the first to provide aid to regions and countries which suffered. I would note the coordinated work of the Emergency Ministry and the Defence Ministry, which delivered 600 tons of necessary cargo to the disaster zone in a short time, and helped more than 4,000 people, more than 1,500 of them children. I think that to a large degree, thanks to this work many affected regions were able to ensure that the natural catastrophe did not turn into an epidemiological catastrophe, in the full sense of the word, because our specialists made, and continue to make, a significant contribution to combating possible epidemics.
In connection with this, I must say that Russia will continue to provide aid to affected regions, and those who require this aid, of course. We have allocated $22 million to this end, and will continue anti-epidemiological work, and provide food aid. For example, we plan to deliver 20,000 tons of wheat to Indonesia.
It is clear that today our country has all the resources to take part in these large-scale undertakings along with other countries of the world, and it is our duty to provide aid to people who are in urgent need of it at the moment. At the same time, the tsunami in South-East Asia, which caused enormous, colossal moral damage, humanitarian damage and economic damage, should make us think about how we organise work to predict catastrophes of this nature in our own country.
I would remind you that about 20 million citizens of Russia live in zones of seismic danger, and this is a very serious factor that we should already be thinking about – it is almost a quarter of the territory of Russia. We have a special Federal programme “Seismic safety of the territory of Russia”, and I would ask the Minister [Mr Shoigu] to report on the realisation of this programme at our meeting today. I know that the Russian Academy of Sciences is also involved in this work, and I would of course like to hear the President [Mr Osipov] and other colleagues speak about how the Academy of Sciences is working in this direction. During our meeting, we will have the opportunity to talk with people involved with this problem in the Russian regions. As far as I know, we will also have the opportunity to learn about the actual situation in the catastrophe zone where our specialists are currently working.
Mr Putin: What can we say in conclusion? That we do have a system, and it functions. A large database has been accumulated, and we have specialists. The structures work.
At the same time, it is quite clear that all these elements need to be strengthened, made more consistent and equipped better.
I would also like to direct your attention to something that we already all know: we are talking about protecting our citizens, protecting people, their property, health and lives, so everything here is of great importance!
According to the results of our meeting today, we will formulate according instructions to the Government, and correct the plans that we have, so that the issues that we have discussed today are decided more effectively.
Thank you all very much.