Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

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Liquidation and consolidation

In Transbaikalia accelerated work to eliminate the effects of fires

Liquidation and consolidation

All work aimed at eliminating the consequences of large-scale fires that occurred in April should be completed by October 15 in Transbaikalia. This was stated by the plenipotentiary representative of the President in the Far Eastern District, Yuri Trutnev, at an operational meeting in Chita. Acting Governor of the Trans-Baikal Territory, Alexander Osipov, demanded from local authorities and contractors not to delay the case and strictly adhere to the established deadlines for building housing for fire victims, drilling wells for drinking water and firefighting needs, building new bridges across rivers to replace the burned ones. The head of the region clarified: payments for all these purposes are made on time. In accordance with the Decree of the President of the country, decrees of the Russian government and documents of regional authorities. 

The money to start eliminating the consequences of the violence of the elements as quickly as possible was allocated almost immediately. Already on April 26, the president issued a corresponding Decree, which strictly stipulated the deadlines for the payment of compensation to injured citizens for the lost housing and property - before June 15. Total people paid more than 55 million rubles. It was also provided for the allocation of funds from the federal budget for the construction of new housing, the reimbursement of costs by agricultural producers, the payment of insurance and the repayment of interest on loans. The government allocated from the reserve fund 450 million rubles for the construction and purchase of new housing for the fire victims. The authorities of the region also provide assistance to people left without shelter and property; federal and regional departments have joined the work — the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Forestry. 

However, the construction of houses and shepherd sites still lagged behind the original schedule. Somewhere they just dug a pit and brought boards, somewhere they didn’t even try to plow the territory to rule out the possibility of new disasters. The question of why this happened is to those who are directly involved in the work. Administration of Transbaikalia takes all measures to restore order and speed up the case. Officials responsible for implementing the social development plan for the centers of economic growth are obliged to arrange everything so that the repair and construction deadlines for all facilities are restored, Osipov said. He also ordered to find out for what reason some of the victims who filed claims for compensation for lost housing (the 21 family of 148 applicants) were refused. To careless contractors, the presidential plenipotentiary and the head of the region threatened with “personnel decisions” for delay and red tape. 

Deadlines are really tight. Autumn is coming, and people should settle down somehow to the onset of cold weather. In the open field life is not fine. And the scale of the disaster is really very large - especially for such a poor region as Transbaikalia. 

The fires that raged this spring in 13 districts of the Trans-Baikal Territory created an emergency situation in the region and caused enormous damage - it amounts to almost a billion rubles. In 17 settlements, the fire was spread by a gale wind, as a result about 120 private houses, where nearly 500 people lived, burned down to the ground. Agricultural buildings, granaries, equipment, livestock in huge numbers were destroyed. More than 80 people were injured, 9 of them were hospitalized, and eight were discharged from there only recently. In a matter of hours, people lost everything: a roof over their heads, property, money and documents, livestock, household plots ... Many still have to pay off loans for what was bought before the fire, and now completely destroyed. 

More than 700 people are recognized as victims of a natural disaster. In most cases, houses, livestock, cars and equipment were not insured - people considered this an unnecessary burden and did not issue any policies. The fires occurred in the villages, the inhabitants of which already have every penny on their account. In many remote agricultural areas of Transbaikalia, only a couple of years ago, electricity appeared, cellular communications did not work, there was no fire equipment, and living conditions were “military field”, with no signs of comfort. The steppe climate also adds problems: it is necessary to light up the grass and dry forest (or if someone ignites them to ignite them) - and the wind instantly spreads fire around, sparing no one and nothing. 


Insurance, not horror

Since 4 August 2019, the federal law on voluntary insurance of housing against emergencies, passed a year ago, comes into force. It gives regional authorities the opportunity to approve and implement their own programs for the compensation of damage to housing and property of citizens based on the mechanism of voluntary insurance. This does not mean that all costs will pass on to the shoulders of people and their wallets. On the contrary: for a more complete compensation for damage, three sources will be used at once: the federal and regional budget and funds of insurance companies. According to the head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, Anatoly Aksakov, with the help of administrative measures and financial incentives it is necessary to develop the home insurance market in the country - then, the deputy believes, the losses due to natural disasters will be less. However, now, the head of the All-Russian Union of Insurers, Igor Yurgens, notes, on average in the country the share of such insurance is no more than 8%. Including in the regions that are constantly becoming victims and natural disasters. The leaders are only Moscow, where half the housing is insured.

However, the implementation of these programs is a matter if not the most distant, but the future. And to compensate damage from the elements is required here and now. The authorities of Transbaikalia have to promptly solve technical problems that hinder the reconstruction work. For example, in accordance with a decree signed by the head of the Russian government Dmitry Medvedev, 6 million rubles were allocated for the repair of three burnt bridges in the Trans-Baikal villages. This is 70% of the amount of damage, the remaining 30% will be covered by the regional budget - the total is 8,5 million rubles. There is money, there are no bridges yet. It turned out that they could not be built unless there was a railway platform on the stilts between the banks of the river. And about its delivery, one has to negotiate with Russian Railways. Or another example. In April, the village of Ust-Imalka burned down primarily because the fire came from the territory of neighboring Mongolia. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Trans-Baikal Territory considers it necessary to plow along the border with it a continuous strip not less than 50 m. But the regional budget will cost approximately 24,38 million rubles. They must be taken from the reserve fund, which is already empty after the fires. True, the Deputy Prime Minister of the regional government, Andrei Gurulev, has already assured that “the region will find funding.” And the restoration of the Ust-Imalka too. 


The prosecutor goes to the forest

The April fires have aggravated the problems that have existed in Transbaikalia for years and decades to the limit. Natural disasters happen here with sad frequency. On the one hand, there are objective reasons for this. A number of scientists (including Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Leading Researcher of the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University Vladimir Syvorotkin) believe that the ignition of forests and steppe spaces is associated not only with the "human factor", but also with the movement of "ozone holes" in the atmosphere of our planet , as a result of which a dangerous mixture of hydrogen and methane accumulates at its surface. There are places literally “doomed to burn,” says Syvorotkin. But this, he adds, means only one thing: such regions need a special regime of control. And it is impossible to remove responsibility from residents and authorities. Associate Professor of ZabGU, Doctor of Biological Sciences Oleg Korsun has calculated: since the beginning of 2019, more forest has been burned in Transbaikalia than in 2017 or 2016. He connects this with the fact that we treat the forest as a "deposit of logs", and the forest policy is based on the extensive use of these most valuable resources. Since the beginning of the year, according to Korsun, 713 hectares have been affected by fires in the region, more than half of which are covered with forest. In some hard-to-reach areas, the fire is not even extinguished, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations agrees to this - such work is too expensive and therefore inexpedient. Therefore, 417 fires on 40 thousand hectares had to be left to their own devices. 

According to the plenipotentiary plenipotentiary Trutnev, Transbaikalia is “the champion in the number of violations of forest legislation.” And the regional prosecutor Vasily Voytkin introduced a special bill to the Trans-Baikal Legislative Assembly, which is intended to toughen the responsibility for such actions and establish a system of requirements to prevent illegal circulation of wood, barbaric logging and forest fires. So far, according to the Ministry of Environment, the forest fund of Transbaikalia has been damaged in 87 million rubles since the beginning of the year. But the perpetrators managed to recover only 31 thousand rubles. In total, the 124 fire safety protocol was compiled for a total of 925 thousands.


Be in touch

Experts and government officials agree: not only money is needed, but also long systematic work to prevent a recurrence of emergency situations in the region. It is necessary to provide firefighters with the necessary equipment, provide assistance to municipal authorities to finance fire brigades and purchase equipment. But at the same time, it is necessary to disaccustom people in the villages to burn last year's dry grass, to explain to everyone, young and old, how fires occur and what to do in these cases. Conduct, together with the authorities, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Rosleskhoz and supervisory authorities, explanatory work in the media. Solve the problem of abandoned lands. To establish cellular communication in remote villages - because very often firefighters cannot be called by phone, which simply does not work in this place. People ride a motorcycle to the regional center and knock on the gates of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, and during this time the fire destroys everything they can reach. For these purposes, the regional authorities will allocate additional funds from the reserve fund. The federal center has also promised to provide support.

In the neighboring region, the Amur Region, there is a positive example in this regard, which encourages many. The systematic work to prevent fires has already yielded a visible result. Last year, an anti-record was set in the Amur region - 2 million hectares of forest were burned down. However, this spring has become the calmest in history. Experts associate this with the great work that the authorities of the problem region have done, with an information campaign designed for all segments of the population, with an increase in the responsibility of officials.

The Transbaikal authorities are ready to adopt this example. Especially because the threat of fire is one of the most powerful stressors for people living in the region. And not only for them. As experts of the communication agency KROS found out, who investigated the most widespread phobias of Russians, reports of fires in Transbaikalia and other regions this spring brought fear of fire elements to the third place in the overall negative rating. More than fires, people fear only the construction of landfills near their homes and plane crashes.

But people deserve to live in peace. The task of the authorities is to dispel their fears as quickly and permanently as possible. All efforts are now directed towards this. 

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