MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. More than 250,000 people have been evacuated from 564 facilities due to hoax bomb scares in Moscow starting from September, the head of the Moscow department for regional security and anti-corruption fight said on Tuesday.
"As of November 9,564 facilities had received bomb threat calls. More than a quarter of a million people were evacuated, including 184,000 people from crowded areas, 29,000 from educational establishments, 13,000 from hotels and hostels, 9,000 from government agencies and 18,000 from railway stations," Vladimir Chernikov told a session of the Moscow Duma.
He said damage from hoax bomb calls runs into hundreds of millions of rubles, "including direct costs defrayed by city agencies in connection with evacuations". According to the department’s chief, there is other damage apart from material losses that are difficult to calculate. Among them moral damage and fear people feel when such threats come in.
"Muscovites can feel calm, as the entire might of the city’s system works to counter them [telephone terrorists]," the official said, adding that none of the bomb threats in Moscow has been confirmed. However, "developments have shown that there is still room for improvement."
Chernikov believes it is necessary to stiffen punishment for telephone terrorism. "We must see to it that hooligans don’t even dare think about. The punishment must be more severe," he stressed.
Since September 11, a wave of phone calls has swept across Russian cities and towns. Emergency services have combed through secondary and higher schools, shopping malls, airports, railway stations, hotels and governmental buildings. More than one million people were subject to evacuation as safety precautions from over 2,600 facilities in 170 cities and towns. Criminal cases have been opened into numerous bomb scares in Moscow and other Russian cities.