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Vladimir Putin instructs regions to minimise risks for people in flood-stricken areas

August 17, 2013, 20:46 UTC+3

The situation really is difficult, but it can be controlled and is currently under control

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Photo courtesy of ITAR-TASS / Igor Agueyev

Photo courtesy of ITAR-TASS / Igor Agueyev

SOCHI, August 17 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin instructed authorities in flood-stricken regions in the Russian Far East to minimise risks for their populations.

“The situation really is difficult, but it can be controlled and is currently under control. And if we work together as a team, and coordinating our work is the most important thing, then we really can minimise losses and prevent irreparable ones,” Putin said during as videoconference with the heads of the Amur Region, Khabarovsk Territory and Jewish Autonomous Region on Saturday, August 17.

Large areas are flooded as are dozens of villages, while communication lines, roads, bridges and power lines have been damaged. The damage is very extensive, he said.

“The most important thing that we managed to do was to prevent human casualties. I want to thank everyone who took part in getting the evacuation points ready and in the evacuation itself for their effective work,” Putin said.

“There is no doubt that we will rebuild agriculture facilities, bridges, roads, communication and power lines, in short everything that we might call hardware,” the president said. “The task is to protect people from harm and - most importantly - prevent irreversible losses. I would ask you to please focus on this.”

He instructed the governors and heads of federal ministries to focus their efforts on this task.

“We must take additional measures to resolve problems currently faced by the regions affected by floods. The Emergencies Ministry, Transport Ministry and Regional Development Ministry, together with the Finance Ministry will have to make proposals on how to address these issues, either by reducing rates or by providing subsidies to relevant companies. This is a technical question, but it must be worked out quickly. I would ask you to do so,” Putin said.

He believes it would be unreasonable to shift everything solely to financial organisations, but “if something needs to be shifted onto them, then we need to understand what condition these organisations - both leasing companies and banks - would find themselves in. Therefore, the Finance Ministry and [financial] organisations themselves must analyse the situation and make suggestions, and do so as quickly as possible,” the president said.

Putin noted that all of these regions are in quite a difficult climatic zone.” So despite current difficulties with floods, you must not forget to prepare for winter; it will be here in the blink of an eye,” he said.

The president stressed the need to continue to monitor the situation around water facilities very closely.

“No one should be left behind and no one should be lost; I am referring to the people who live in your regions. I would ask you to provide daily reports, and to report immediately if the situation were to suddenly change,” he instructed the governors.

“We must relocate everyone who is in a flood zone or potentially threatened to a safe place, which must be set up in advance. We need to ensure water supply, provide medication, clean up affected areas, and give timely vaccinations,” he said.

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