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Vera Shcherbina: "After the cyclones, we identified a weak link, this is the power industry"
Vera Shcherbina, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Sakhalin Region, spoke about how the consequences of the disaster are being resolved, and what tasks the new government is setting for itself - in an interview with East Russia.
The Sakhalin Region in early October was dominated by two powerful cyclones, which brought a hurricane wind and showers. On the islands, a hurricane broke down trees, felled power lines, turned cars. Downpours washed the roads, leaving the banks of the river flooded homes and household plots. These difficult tests fell on the share of the team of the new governor of the region Oleg Kozhemyako. On the elimination of the consequences of the disaster, East Russia correspondent talked with Vera Shcherbina, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Sakhalin Oblast Government.
She was appointed to this position at the end of September 2015. Previously, she held the post of First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Amur Region, Minister of Finance of the region.
- We had to eliminate the consequences of two cyclones, which came one after another with a break in a few days. The damage assessment has not yet been completed, since applications are still received from both citizens and legal entities. Preliminary damage assessment - over 500 million rubles. The roofs of houses suffered most. The wind damaged them on 1119 apartment buildings. Total area - 152 thousand square meters. M. Of course, the degree of damage is different. There are minor, there are also significant when half of the roof area of the house is damaged or even more.
In addition, the second cyclone due to a sharp rise in the water level in the rivers brought us flooding 98 houses. 31 of them flooded strongly, here and there the water reached the windows. Mostly these are private houses, where property has also suffered: the bird, livestock, and hay and coal have been killed here and there.
- What steps have been taken and what remains to be done to make the life of the Sakhalin and Kuril residents normalized? Are there people left homeless? Will they be helped, given that winter will come soon enough?
- Work on the elimination of the consequences of the disaster involving the forces and means of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia is going on actively. According to the temporary scheme, all damaged roofs of houses are closed. There is a restoration of permanent roofing. 404 houses are already renovated. These are the buildings where the destruction was insignificant, and where the building material was at hand. In some of the old houses, the roofs were covered with slate, and its supplies on the island were not enough. I had to order this material from suppliers on the mainland. Now the slate is on the road, so the work continues.
Governor Oleg Kozhemyako set a task within a month to repair all damages. We try, the teams are working, everything is under control. We constantly hold video-selective operational meetings with the heads of municipalities. They report on the progress of work and on what assistance they need, we, in turn, respond promptly. We provide them with material, labor and monetary resources. As budget credits, we have already given out 119 million rubles. All those who said they need help were promptly financed.
All flooded houses are dried with the help of thermal cannons. This work involved firefighting services of the region together with local authorities. Seven families of dilapidated flooded houses were relocated. We are solving the question of how to provide them with permanent housing.
All residents of the region, whose houses were flooded, receive compensation from the regional budget. If the water in the house was raised by 50 cm or more, we give material assistance for major repairs in the amount of 5 thousand rubles for 1 sq. M. M. Socially unprotected citizens are also paid one-time material assistance.
In addition, we have formed brigades that will do current repairs in the affected homes for single mothers with children, pensioners who do not have money to repair. If citizens want to repair their homes themselves, we help them with material resources.
- How is the damage done to the agriculture of the region? What will be done to minimize this damage?
- According to preliminary estimates, the damage caused to the agro-industrial complex of the region amounted to 48 million rubles. Basically, these are hurricane-roofed cowsheds, vegetable stores, greenhouses, etc. Enterprises are now preparing documents for assistance. But here we act with reservations. To ensure that the volumes of destruction are not overestimated, we demand that all data on the extent of the damage are witnessed by representatives of local authorities and the public.
It is supposed that we will provide material assistance from the regional budget of the Sokolovsky SPK, Zarechnoye ZAO, ZAO Krasnogorsk Zaimka and JSC Sovkhoz Komsomolets. But at the same time we raise the issue that these enterprises and all legal entities of the region should take care of the insurance of their property. This position is supported by the federal budget, it is ready to compensate half of costs for insurance of agricultural enterprises. We are ready to support a number of enterprises, to contribute a share of regional funds. This will allow us to save money in the region in emergency situations, if an insured event occurs.
Owners of private farmsteads, where livestock died, feed, coal, lost, compensate for the damage in kind. For children, including schoolchildren, who had drowned clothes and shoes during the flood, the region’s Ministry of Education formed the necessary assistance packages. They include clothes, textbooks, stationery. The regional ministry of social protection is instructed to once again examine the victims of the flooding of a family with children in order to see if they need any other help.
- In the course of work in an emergency situation, did you feel that the regional government is acting as a single cohesive team or is it yet to be rallied and adjusted?
- In an emergency situation, when there is a threat to the life of entire settlements and individual citizens, we are always mobilized, as everything must be done quickly. Of course, there were failures. But in general, we worked as a united team, we solved all problems by joint efforts.
I want to note the active work of the staff of the administration of the Dolinsky urban district. They completed the survey of flooded houses within the first three days after the cyclone, began paying compensation to citizens, providing them with fuel, mixed fodders and all the rest. Also, the city administration of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk responds promptly: on the first day after the hurricane, all roads and driveways from tree blockages were cleared. Operationally worked with citizens whose property suffered from cyclones. The scale of the devastating consequences of the cyclone in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk was the largest, many roofs of houses here have suffered.
- Considering the fact that the Sakhalin Region is generally prone to various kinds of natural elements, what lessons has the newly formed government of the Sakhalin Oblast got for itself?
- This is an important question. Yes, indeed, not all of us were ready for the upcoming disaster. Somewhere there was a lack of technology, people. Now we are starting to form inter-municipal rapid reaction groups. Their task is to ensure as quickly as possible the supply of electricity to the population in the event of an element. We are not going to specifically create any new budget institutions, we will rely on our own forces - municipal and regional enterprises and institutions that we can mobilize in such situations. For these groups, the tasks should be clearly defined: who is acting and in what direction, where and how should the technology, human and material resources be mobilized. That is, on the first call people will be equipped and sent on business trips to clear cutting areas, repair power lines and so on. We will acquire additional equipment for clearing snow from settlements, and for other purposes. The governor has set such a task for us.
Cyclones revealed a weak link in the life support system. This is the electric power industry. Suffice it to say that after the first cyclone, more than half the population of Sakhalin was without light. A considerable part of people sat without electricity for several days. The fact that the networks are dilapidated played a role. And the wind turned out to be such a strength that it fell along with the trees. There were simply huge blockages of trees, poles and dangling wires in the forest. Because of this, repair teams could not quickly restore power supply. With the help of helicopters, we found more and more new obstructions.
To ensure the safety of the electric power industry, a whole range of measures is required. Starting from the use on the power lines of an isolated self-supporting wire and special supports that can withstand such surprises of weather, to the technology of responding to such incidents. While these measures are under discussion and design.
There are plans to reach the central authorities and try to get into federal programs. Cyclones on Sakhalin and the Kuriles are a constant phenomenon. They can be even stronger, they can cause more damage when it becomes even more difficult for us to establish the life support system.
Quickly with the task of improving the reliability of electricity can not cope. This is a challenge for the coming years. We need to see from which sources we can get serious investments in the electric power industry, so that the light of every cyclone does not go out in the homes of residents of the region.
- What are the priority tasks for the government of the region in the shortest term in general, and the economic bloc in particular?
- Governor Oleg Kozhemyako has set enormous tasks for us. Today the region lives and develops due to resource payments. But in the current difficult political and economic situation in the country and in the world, the dollar and oil prices are not stable. All this leaves an imprint on the regional budget. Payments are very rhythmic. Today, a lot of income comes, tomorrow - not enough for objective economic reasons. Therefore, we cannot rely only on resource payments and must rely on other sectors of the economy.
The governor has set before us the task of developing tourism in the region. First of all, this is a completely different approach to existing projects that have already recommended themselves well. For example, the sports and tourist ski complex "Mountain Air" in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Investment is needed so that the complex can provide high quality services. We are going to create a regional tourism agency and attract specialists who have already worked on such projects, for example, in Sochi. They should prepare a concept for the development of the tourism industry so that we can attract domestic and foreign tourists to the region.
The next block of issues is agriculture. The development of the agro-industrial complex is a matter of food security in the Sakhalin region. The region is completely insular and only provides 8% with its own food products. We associate the development of the agro-industrial complex with the creation of large-scale modern production of pork, beef, milk and dairy products. We will build elevators in order to make cheaper feedstuffs on imported raw materials. Specialists themselves will develop a compound feed formula and create a fodder base here. These are large-scale projects. Now there are consultations with specialists who have experience in implementing such projects in other regions of the Russian Federation.
There is a need to reform the transport. For the railway, we are going to purchase modern locomotives with diesel engines. They are the most economical. We will use them on the most popular lines.
And, at last, the most important direction which disturbs the population of area, - habitation. Most often on this topic, the islanders asked questions during the election campaign of Oleg Kozhemyako. We know how expensive new housing is here, besides, the volumes of new construction are not large. Therefore, we will launch several regional programs: to reduce the cost of mortgage lending, to build social free housing for certain categories of citizens, these are families with many children, people with disabilities, and so on. We also develop a program for state employees.
We are going to introduce rental housing. This experience has been applied in several regions of Russia: Novosibirsk, Kaluga, in the Amur Region. Rental housing can be provided to professionals who need to attract from other regions of the country. They will pay utilities and rent. Moreover, companies that need specialists can subsidize rent for them. We plan to provide in the future the opportunity to buy this housing on preferential terms.
Another question that residents of the region asked the governor most often was about the condition of the roads. We are planning to spend large amounts on their construction. But at the same time we set the task for designers and contractors - it is necessary to reduce the cost of all construction and repair road works without compromising quality. This will give us the opportunity, with the same financial resources, to commission more modern roads.
We are going to create territories of advanced development. One of them can be the sports and tourist complex "Mountain Air", of which we have already spoken, as well as agricultural production. This is a promising topic. We will look for investors who are ready to invest their money on the islands.
- In your opinion, what are the most significant differences and similarities between work in the Amur Region and Sakhalin?
- In management approaches, I do not see any difference. Sakhalin and Amur Oblast are two subjects of the Russian Federation, in which the same management system is built. A lot of highly professional specialists work on Sakhalin. We immediately found a common language and understand each other.
Of course, in the Sakhalin region there is a completely different budget and completely different income opportunities. Thanks to them, the region can not survive, but develop. This, of course, needs to be used in order for the population to see and feel that the region’s economy is developing, that social issues are being resolved, conditions are created for comfortable living. Here is a good climate, the nature is very beautiful, the views, as in Austria. It is only necessary to clean something somewhere, to remove the ruins, the ruins. That's what we will do.