10 july 2012

Dmitry Medvedev chairs a meeting on measures to rebuild homes damaged by torrential rains in the Krasnodar Territory

“The government has no right to ignore any appeal; all appeals must be examined and decided upon. Clean-up operations must begin as soon as possible.”

Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks:

Good afternoon. Colleagues, as agreed, we will now have to take a number of very important decisions regarding the reconstruction of housing damaged by the tragic flooding in the Krasnodar Territory. The Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief estimates that about 8,000 residential buildings in seven communities were flooded and about 400 buildings have been completely destroyed. Of course, these are only preliminary statistics and are subject to change. In this situation, the government has no right to ignore any appeal; all appeals must be examined and decided upon. Clean-up operations must begin as soon as possible. I would like to outline several priorities.

First, the disaster has affected about 35,000 people, including 29,000 people who have lost their property. They have lost their homes, normal sources of income and basic amenities, so they must be provided with all the essentials. We must decide on what additional support needs to be provided to these people, especially families with children, single elderly citizens and disabled people, as these are the most vulnerable categories of our citizens.

Second. Everything must be done to get life back to normal, so that people can return to normal life, at least as regards the basics. Everything that was damaged needs to be restored. If restoration isn’t possible, new housing should be built and the destroyed infrastructure rebuilt, including, of course, the social infrastructure. Today we have to approve the schedule for the construction of housing. I would like to say at the outset: the deadlines, as often happens in these types of disasters, are very tough and need to be strictly adhered to. Any delays or red tape in implementing these decisions are unacceptable! I would like the government and my deputy, Mr Kozak, to take personal control of this matter. We have to approve the sites for housing construction by the end of July, start construction works on August 1, so that by the end of October all the housing is ready and the people who’ve lost their homes can move into their new housing in November at the latest. 

Next. The housing that is to be built or purchased (I will say more on this a bit later) should be equivalent to the housing that has been lost, it should not be any smaller in terms of area. And it definitely has to be ready to move into, that is, it should be equipped with all the necessary fixtures and fittings. 

I propose three mechanisms for solving the housing problem. The first one – construction of new housing on new plots of land to be allocated to residents. The second, the replacement of housing that has been destroyed on plots of land that belong to residents. Of course, the risks of further flooding need to be assessed. And the third option, the purchase by the state of existing housing should be considered, housing which is available at present. The choice should naturally lie with the residents themselves, i.e. people should decide for themselves which option suits them best.  Let’s discuss these issues.

I’d like to make one more remark. When we had the bad fires two years ago, we began to move towards setting up a more modern system of compensation in case of natural disasters, fires, floods, but we should not stop there. We need to develop a culture of property insurance because unfortunately, protecting yourself against the elements is very hard if not impossible. This is especially true of small towns, individual housing, private houses. Kuban here is no exception but rather an example of these types of places. 

Let’s get to work.