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IRKUTSK, May 15. /TASS/. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry is currently fighting ten big forest fires, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said adding that the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia were facing the most complex fire situation.
"Since the beginning of the year, more than 3,500 forest fires have been extinguished. As many as 670 settlements with a total population of over 1,500,000 have been protected from fires. Measures are being taken to contain and extinguish ten big fires and prevent new fires," the minister said at a meeting chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The Irkutsk region and Buryatia are facing the most complex situation. A total of 78 homes have burned down in five settlements. In compliance with your orders, steps are being taken to provide people with necessary assistance," the minister said addressing the president.
Puchkov pointed out that the Russian government had allocated 115,960,000 rubles (roughly $2 mln) to pay financial compensation to those affected.
"A total of 332 people, which is more than 90% of those affected, have received 10,000 rubles (roughly $177) each as financial assistance, besides, each of them was given 100,000 rubles (roughly $1700) for the loss of essential belongings. We have been in touch with those who have not yet received the necessary documents, they have been provided with legal assistance," the minister added.
According to him, temporary accommodation centers have been set up, 68 million rubles (roughly $1.2 mln) have been allocated from the federal budget to provide accommodation and food to those who lost their homes. "As many as 75 people are currently residing in the temporary accommodation centers," Puchkov said.
He also said that social services were providing medical assistance to those in need.
Besides, in the minister’s words, inter-agency groups have carried out 30,000 raids to monitor the fire situation. "This allowed us to minimize damage in 50 regions," Puchkov noted.
"A large group consisting of personnel from the federal and regional agencies has been taking steps to cover potentially dangerous areas. The aircraft of the Emergencies Ministry, Defense Ministry and National Guard have been on standby. We are capable of carrying out urgent operations and protect populated localities from fires," the emergencies minister concluded.