President of Russia Vladimir Putin: First of all, I would like to thank you, Sergei Kuzhugetovich [Shoigu] and everyone who took part in this work. This is indeed an exceptional event. This work took more than a year and has been performed to a high and modern standard.
Indeed, this centre is practically the only one of its kind in the world. Other countries have their own centres, but probably only our country, only Russia, has one of this level. This allows us to carry out our main task more effectively, namely, to help people in difficult situations, minimise economic losses and reduce to a minimum the economic damage resulting from manmade or natural disasters.
We have a vast country and all sorts of events caused by human activity or natural phenomena such as spring floods and fires can happen here. We see today that fires have begun in Siberia, despite the fact that the rivers have not yet opened. Your work is especially important in a country like Russia. The primary task is to minimise human losses in these difficult situations. Another important task is to increase the ministry’s role in ensuring safety on the roads. We have some plans and I hope that we will start implementing them very soon.
The opening of this centre can also help us to establish more effective cooperation with our colleagues abroad. We just had the opportunity to speak with our colleagues in Geneva, and we can develop work not only with the UN agencies but also with other countries’ national centres. There is a need for this work, and not only because Russia increasingly often finds itself helping other countries (last year, we helped put out fires in Europe) but also because we can also benefit from our colleagues’ help. Speedy decisions on these matters at the top level are therefore very important.
Aside from all this, this work is also a perfect example of an area where our achievements in space and in information technology can be put to use. I hope that development will also take place at the regional level. The public warning system, especially in places where large numbers of people gather, remains a relevant area of work and is a matter that should be addressed speedily in contact with your colleagues from the other ministries and from the Academy of Sciences.
We spoke about how the system can be used to warn up to 60 million people. The country’s population is much bigger than that and we need to use modern technology, all the newest possibilities available, including modern telephone systems – practically everyone has a mobile phone. These possibilities exist. In general, we need to make use of all these different possibilities in order to ensure our population’s safety.