Putin: Local authorities could have prevented consequences of disastrous flood

Eighty-nine people died as a result of the disastrous floods in Russia’s southern areas. The total damage is estimated to be approximately 16 billion rubles. No exact sum necessary for reconstruction works is announced yet; however, reconstruction is sure to cost several billion rubles. Russia’s Finance Ministry has already appropriated the first portion of the sum: 350 million rubles(other 300 million is to be appropriated next week).

A regular session of the RF Government on priorities of social, economic, and budgetary policy for 2003 is scheduled for Thursday. Solving the problems caused by the flood is to be of special concern at the session. In this connection, investment programs of the state are to be reviewed.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has already stated the terms: construction of accommodation is to be completed, and support systems should be reconstructed by October. EMERCOM Minister Sergey Shoigu promised to reconstruct the support systems of regions damaged by the floodby July 4, and it was said that people would be provided with accommodation by the middle of November.

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the G8 summit in Canada, gave his own estimate of the recent events in the southern areas of Russia. The president said that the tragedy occurred because of the failures of local authorities mostly: “It was possible to avoid such large-scale tragedy, because information about a possible flood was received beforehand. Local authorities, to my mind, could have performed preventive measures more effectively.”

As usual, those people who are less protected and poor families suffered the worst from the tragedy. The president says that it is really very important now to help these people with financing, to work on the prevention of epidemics, and to help them with the reconstruction of their houses.

The heads of Russia's regions are getting ready for a meeting with the president; as soon as Vladimir Putin returns from Canada, he plans to discuss the situation in the regions with the governors.

The Don Cossacks are ready to help the people who suffered from the flood: they will receive children from the damaged regions into their families. Special headquarters has been created in the area to organize the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid, foodstuffs, construction materials, and combustive-lubricating materials.

The hydrological situation in the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions is relatively stable now, and no heavy rains are expected within the nearest time. How long will it last? Weather forecasters now say that floods are possible in Kabardino-Balkaria because the water level is too high in the Upper Kuban River.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/27/43351.html

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