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MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. The personnel of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry are celebrating their professional holiday - Rescue Worker’s Day. On December 27, 1990 Russia created a dramatically new service, called Russian Rescue Workers’ Corps, which was later renamed to the State Committee for Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) and ultimately, to Emergencies Ministry.
Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov has said that in dealing with various extraordinary situations, fires and other incidents this year his colleagues across the nation saved 260,000 lives.
“The outgoing year was really hard and tough for us. But the Emergencies Ministry and the national unified system of warning of and eliminating emergencies have coped with all of the tasks facing them. The speed and effectiveness of response to fires and other emergencies have improved,” Puchkov said. In the outgoing year the number of emergencies was reduced, so was the number of man-made fires and the damage caused.
“The Emergencies Ministry has a three-year budget for 2015-2017… However hard the economic situation may be, the Emergencies Ministry hopes to get more aircraft, equipment, gear and fire-fighting systems - all of domestic manufacture. This will enable us to develop steadily and cope with the tasks the country’s leadership may set to us,” Puchkov said, adding that no personnel cuts were due.
In his message of greeting Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed special thanks to the rescue workers who participated in the operation to deliver aide to the south-eastern areas of Ukraine.
“It goes without saying that self-sacrificial efforts by rescue workers to deliver aid to the south-eastern Ukraine deserve special thanks. Thousands of tonnes of humanitarian cargoes - foods and medical supplies - were delivered to recipients in the neighbouring state,” Putin said in the message.
Since last August ten truck convoys have brought more than 13,000 tonnes of critically important cargoes. An eleventh convoy, Puchkov said, may leave for Donbass at the beginning of January. It will deliver more food, medicines and warm clothes. “We shall provide as much assistance as necessary,” Puchkov said.
Russia’s rescue service had to be created from scratch at a very dramatic moment in the country’s history. One of its founders, Sergey Shoigu, who led the ministry for more than 20 years, recalls that its predecessor started as a group of 17 enthusiasts, who had very little apart from their determination - no vehicles, no equipment, no experience. Today’s Emergencies Ministry is unparalleled in the past and in the present.
By tradition most of the Emergencies Ministry personnel will spend the holiday be on duty, because New Year’s Eve and the following holidays are usually a no easy time for them.
All Emergencies Ministry units have been on alert since December 25. A total of 110,000 rescue workers will be involved in efforts to maintain public safety throughout the holidays.