Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, currently on a working trip to the Southern Federal District, chairs a meeting in the town of Novomikhailovsky regarding disaster recovery efforts in the Krasnodar Territory


“New houses have to be built within two months. I would like the Ministry of Regional Development to oversee this work directly, and regional and local authorities, to help people repair the houses in need of repairs,” the prime minister said at the meeting in Novomikhailovsky.

Transcript of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. The weather is nice today, nothing like the tornado, flash flood and rains that descended on the area in the early hours of October 16, killing 16 people. Seven more are reported missing.

In total, the disaster affected 29 communities with a total population of 192,000. Eighteen hundred homes with 5,000 inhabitants were flooded at the epicentre. Power supply, water supply, railroad and motor road traffic have been disrupted.

As you know, we have taken the necessary decisions in order to help people in need. The day after the disaster, we began making payments of 10,000 roubles per family member out of the regional budget's contingency fund to cover the cost of essentials. The government has also adopted a resolution setting aside 100,000 roubles in federal funding and 50,000 roubles in regional-budget allocations per family member. The money will be used to restore lost property. Taken together, each disaster victim is entitled to 160,000 roubles in total.

Those families that, to our great regret, have lost members will receive a million roubles each. I would once again like to express my sympathy and condolences to disaster victims and the families of the deceased.

Over 1,200 homes have been inspected to date in the Krasnodar Territory's Tuapse District, and another 530 homes have been inspected in the Apsheron District. Door-to-door inspections show that 304 homes have been damaged beyond repair and will be rebuilt using federal funds. We will follow disaster protocol. We will do what was done this summer. Two million roubles will be allocated for construction, and another one million for infrastructure projects. Each of the 304 households will therefore receive three million roubles.

The remaining homes have to be repaired, and I think it would only be right for us to help people with these repairs. We have agreed that each household will receive another 100,000 roubles in federal funding. We have agreed that the governor will contribute an additional 25,000 roubles from the regional budget. Again, the funding will be provided to each household for repairs.

Mr Shoigu, please, take the floor and tell us how the work has been proceeding, and what forces and resources have been mobilised so far?

Sergei Shoigu: Thank you. Mr Putin, colleagues, the situation in the Krasnodar Territory remains difficult. Heavy rains saturated the soil. It could not absorb any more water, and this caused deadly flooding in the region. Worse still, tornadoes carried a massive amount of water up to the mountains, where it was released. You have already cited the figures. People in the region were warned about the storm in time. As the tornadoes hit, we began evacuating people who lost their homes. We organised evacuation centres. We have set up enough of these centres to accommodate them. At this point, many people have already left these centres and returned to their homes or went to stay with relatives. However, 139 people remain at the evacuation centres. The regional authorities have made all the necessary arrangements to make these people as comfortable as possible.

About 1,500 people, including military servicemen and Emergencies Ministry rescuer workers, and 120 vehicles are currently involved in the recovery effort. They are working on making local water sources sanitary again, as water in many of the wells in the flood zone is unfit for consumption. Our relief crews have already restored or flushed many of them, including water intake facilities, siphon intakes, wells and other sources of drinking water.

Veterinary oversight services are working together with our crews, because a lot of animals were killed in the floods (over 1,400 heads of cattle). The carcasses have to be removed and buried to prevent epidemics and other health problems.

Other efforts include opening bank accounts for people entitled to government compensation for lost property in accordance with your decision.

Now to our proposals: We suggest putting in place an early warning system similar to the ones you instructed us to install after a tidal wave hit Southeast Asia, only to warn about tornadoes, not tidal waves. This system should work automatically along the entire Black Sea coast and not depend on human control, just like the systems in Kamchatka and Sakhalin.

Vladimir Putin: We'll do that. Please draft your proposal with cost estimates so we can discuss the financing of this project.

Sergei Shoigu: Certainly. That concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, if you please.

Alexander Tkachev: Mr Putin, the Krasnodar Territory has been in a state of emergency for five days. It has not suffered a natural disaster of this magnitude for a long time. In 2002, there was mass flooding in the plains of Kuban. That was the last large-scale disaster, thank God. Now this recent flood has delivered a blow to the local economy and claimed lives. The tragedy has united Kuban. Everyone wants to help - local businesses and public organisations. They do what they can. They give money and material resources, and volunteer to help the 5,000 local residents affected by the flood.

We have mobilised various groups, including construction companies, volunteers, students and soldiers. The Emergencies Ministry has provided extensive support. Its workers came to our rescue when the disaster first struck and are continuing to help with relief work. The ministry sent us a group of 2,000 people. Overall, we are using 300 special vehicles and other pieces of equipment, working day and night. We are removing the debris and mud. Mud and dirt are piled a metre high in mountain streams. There is a lot of damaged property, too.

Our primary goal today is to complete search and rescue operations. Seven people are still missing; if they are dead, we must recover their bodies and give them a proper burial. Another important task is to pay compensation, as we have discussed. I would like to express gratitude to the federal government, on behalf of all local residents and the families affected by the flooding, for all the help provided to us - the relief work and the financial support to restore and replace damaged property and repair housing. The government has never provided such extensive support to the families of disaster victims before. People understand this and appreciate it.

Alexander Tkachev: We must also help people repair their homes. We are recruiting construction teams now. We'll help people buy furniture and household appliances at wholesale prices so that they can repair their homes quicker and get back to their normal lives.

As for food, we've provided practically everyone with a good package - canned meat, sausage, flour, cereals and so on. We've supplied them with drinking water, clothes, mattresses and blankets... They are receiving counseling.

We are restoring public facilities, such as clinics and schools, at a rapid pace. We are planning to reopen two schools on Monday that were shut down. They will resume classes on a temporary basis.

As for public order, we want to prevent the looting that sometimes accompanies such disasters. I hope it won't happen this time.

And, of course, we are planning to completely restore access to all vital services. Our territory will allocate about two billion roubles for this purpose. We've already calculated our losses and assessed our capabilities, and we will be able to reach this goal in the near future together with the municipality and businesses that are helping us.

Some houses and apartments were damaged beyond repair. We've decided to build 304 apartments and houses for the victims by January 1, 2011, which is two months from now. This will be a challenge, but I'm confident that we'll manage. They must receive new housing by winter.

Vladimir Putin: Okay. Mr Lybanev (head of the Tuapse District), you were elected recently, and you were immediately confronted with this ordeal. What is you assessment of the situation in the district?

Vladimir Lybanev: The situation in the district is stabilising. As Mr Tkachev said, we are doing all we can. I'm very grateful to our rescue teams. During the first night, they saved about 300 people. They were our main support. Now work is underway all over the district - both in the north and the south where we are now. People have received all the assistance they need. We will finish making payments at lunchtime today. All accounts for the victims will be open by then.

Vladimir Putin: Are you talking about the 10,000 roubles?

Vladimir Lybanev: Yes, 10,000 roubles for basic necessities. We've opened the accounts for federal payments today. All victims have received counseling. We are carrying out vaccinations to prevent epidemics. We are holding meetings with people. We had one yesterday, even though we've been working round the clock. But moral support is a must... To sum up, the situation is stabilising.

Vladimir Putin: Okay. Mr Shoigu, I've seen the results of your work - both on-site and from your reports. But some places are difficult to reach, Kirpichny, for one. Not even a helicopter can land there. It is hard to get there and bridges have been destroyed. Have you organised rescue operations there? The situation in such places is much worse. People cannot even walk in the streets.

Sergei Shoigu: Mr Putin, we've restored one bridge for pedestrians in the last two days. I believe 3.5-ton vehicles will be able to start crossing it by the end of the day. We've also made a crossing for heavy-duty lorries. It is not easy for them but they manage to cross. We've brought enough equipment there. Regrettably, not a single house in Kirpichny can be repaired. Therefore, I think, together with the heads of the territory and the district, we must find accommodations for these people for two months. Starting on Monday, if not tomorrow, we must start restoring this place.

Vladimir Putin: How many people have you provided with temporary accommodations?

Sergei Shoigu: 143 for the time being.

Vladimir Putin: Are the conditions where they are staying good?

Alexander Tkachev: They stay in recreation and health centres and receive hot meals. These are primarily women with children...

Vladimir Putin: There is a lot of mud there...

Sergei Shoigu: The mud is 1.5 meters high in some places. There were waves five to eight meters high. In Kirpichny, the place you mentioned, water reached the top floor of a two-storey house. Its basement is filled with mud. All the basements there are in the same state. This is why most houses, in fact 99% of the housing, there are beyond repair, Mr Putin.

Vladimir Putin: Today, the territory's regional budget will start receiving money from Moscow. Mr Tkachev, ensure that people get it quickly. I'm referring to the 100,000 roubles per family member to restore property.

I've signed an executive order allocating an additional 100,000 roubles for each household that was affected by the disaster and needs repairs. This is in addition to 100,000 roubles I've mentioned.

As for 304 houses that the commissions deemed beyond repair, we will build new ones with federal funds.

Viktor Basargin: In a different place, Mr Putin.

Vladimir Putin: Wherever the regional and local authorities choose. I hope they will make a good choice.

Sergei Shoigu: Mr Putin, what about your instruction on drafting a programme for the Water Resources Agency?

Vladimir Putin: The government resolution that I signed today contains this instruction.

Viktor Basargin: We suggest that on October 25 the Ministry of Natural Resources and the territory's administration should inspect all bodies of water and hydro-technical facilities in order to assess their condition, determine the borders of the flood-prone territory by December 1 and draft a programme on restoring riverbeds by January 1.

In addition, Mr Shoigu said that the early warning system... As we've discussed, the Ministry of Regional Development must draft a programme on relocating people from flood-prone areas. This programme must be carried out by 2018.

Vladimir Putin: As for the seven people that are reported missing, for the time being, their relatives will not receive a compensation payment of one million roubles. But we have set aside these sums for them and they will be paid to the families when their missing relatives are declared legally deceased.

New houses have to be built within two months, as we have agreed. I would like the Ministry of Regional Development to oversee this work directly, and regional and local authorities to help people repair houses in need of repairs.

Thank you.


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