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BLAGOVESHCHENSK, August 28 (Itar-Tass) - Amur Region Governor Oleg Kozhemyako said the damage caused by the flood to the region is estimated at more than 13 billion rubles.
"The scope of damage is tremendous. It is preliminarily estimated at more than 13 billion rubles," Kozhemyako told a session of a working group under a government commission. "One hundred and twenty-six settlements, 7,400 houses with 36,339 tenants and more than 508,000 hectares of farmland found themselves in the flood zone."
"More than 20,000 pensioners have lost their land plots and vegetable gardens," Kozhemyako said. "Six thousand people have lost their homes. They cannot return, as their housing was recognized as unfit dwelling. They will be accommodated on military compounds, dormitories, and health centers, and this might result in mounting social tension. "We have housing under construction; I'm asking the government commission to prepare a decision to enable us to complete the construction and move people to apartments. It will require 4.2 billion rubles," the governor said.
The region will need at least three billion rubles each year to rebuild its agricultural sector. "Agribusinesses must pay back more than two billion rubles of loans. Banks are already beginning to demand payments, and soon will start taking their equipment. "Nobody will be able to pay interest until the new harvest; at the same time, soil fertility has to be restored," Kozhemyako said.
Meanwhile, Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the evacuated residents of Blagoveshchensk would return to their houses within the next few days.
On Wednesday, Puchkov, together with Kozhemyako, inspected the temporary accommodation centers.
"The water is receding. You'll be able to return to your houses in a day or two," the minister told tenants of inundated houses. All the victims are entitled to compensations for lost property from the federal budget, he added.
Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) reported a decrease in the water level on the rivers Amur and Zeya in the Blagoveshchensk area. On the Amur, it decreased by 53 centimeters overnight and on the Zeya by 49 centimeters.
"I don't know if the foundation will hold or not. My house has been flooded since August 13," a local resident told the minister. She said he had been living in her house since 1960. The house was flooded quickly," the woman said.
The minister explained that special commissions would estimate the damage to the population's property before deciding on compensation.
The all-Russia emergency and radiation medicine center vaccinated 200 residents of the Zeisk district, head of the center Sergei Aleksanin said. Many residents had complained of aggravation of their chronic diseases. The residents needing medical treatment were delivered to hospitals by helicopters, Aleksanin said.