Taking part in the meeting were Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev, Minister of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief Yevgeny Zinichev, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Irek Faizullin, Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolayev, Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory Alexander Osipov, Governor of Krasnodar Territory Veniamin Kondratyev, Governor of Krasnoyarsk Territory Alexander Uss, Governor of Amur Region Vasily Orlov, Governor of the Jewish Autonomous Area Rostislav Goldshtein, Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Kotyukov, as well as heads of a number of municipalities.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Just recently, while in Chelyabinsk Region, we spoke about relief efforts to combat the impact of abnormal natural phenomena.
We have to revisit these issues today. First of all, we will talk about wildfires in the Republic of Yakutia as well as flash floods in a number of municipalities in Crimea and Krasnodar Territory.
Let me note once again that we certainly see and realise that the scale and character of natural disasters in some areas is absolutely unprecedented. Suffice it to say that occasionally some areas in the south of the country experience up to a monthly average of precipitation within a few hours, whereas in Siberia and the Far East, on the contrary, the current natural, climatic and atmospheric situation leads to fast-spreading wildfires due to drought and strong winds.
This is further evidence of how crucial it is for us to take proactive, in-depth and systemic measures to address the climate and environmental agenda. However, today we will dwell on the emergency and prompt efforts.
Let me remind you that we spoke about flash floods and wildfires during a meeting in Chelyabinsk Region on August 6. The federal agencies and regional authorities were issued respective instructions.
I am also daily briefed on the developments in Yakutia, in the south of Russia, and talk about it with the Emergencies Minister and colleagues in the regions, with the regional heads. I see Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev on the screen, he is on site now and is organising work on the ground.
I was told that residential and socially important facilities in Yakutia are safe at the moment. However, 13 wildfires are raging within a five-kilometre zone around towns; therefore, I ask you to keep the situation under constant control and report to me on its development.
Regarding flash floods in the south of Russia, it is districts in Crimea and Krasnodar Region that have been affected the worst.
The federal agencies and regional and municipal authorities must take all emergency efforts. We must act quickly and with maximum efficiency.
Naturally, the top priority is to preserve people’s lives and health as well as their property. If necessary, all steps must be taken to immediately evacuate children, the elderly and women, especially pregnant women, to safety.
Even in the absence of an immediate threat of fire, we are certainly aware that smoke and a high concentration of combustion products in the atmosphere are a direct threat, especially to the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases. I would like us to discuss this issue as well today. We must think about creating conditions for supporting people’s health in the affected area.
We must use and analyse the experience of the past years and weeks. I ask the Government and the Presidential Envoy to the Far East [Yuri Trutnev] to work on this issue separately and to report today during our meeting. Also, the general aspects of rendering material, medical and social assistance to the victims must be optimised.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that we must obviously try our best to preserve as much of our forests as possible. Firefighting efforts must be organised in such a way as to minimise damage for taiga and woodland wildlife, and to arrange work to save wild animals as much as it is possible – of course, I realise how the situation is unfolding there.
I also ask you to immediately begin damage assessment. I spoke about that with Mr Zinichev, and he assured me that the Ministry and the regional heads are conducting this work.
We need to approve plans on the restoration of residential buildings, houses and socially important facilities. As an example, one comprehensive school and six children’s health and recreation camps sustained damage in Krasnodar Territory.
I would like to stress that September 1, the start of the school year is approaching, and all children from the affected areas must be able to attend school in due time while socially important facilities must be repaired as quickly as possible.
I expect to hear your substantive reports on which additional efforts must be taken for disaster relief, what amount of funding and other resources will be required to that effect, and what kind of overall further work is being planned.
Let us start our discussion of these issues.
One more thing. This is something we discuss with the heads of regions practically on a daily basis, as I have said. I would like the heads of the affected municipalities to speak today. I want to invite them to our today’s meeting.
Let us start with the Emergencies Minister. Mr Zinichev, please.