OREANDA-NEWS. January 30, 2013. Dmitry Medvedev’s address:

Good afternoon to everyone once again. We have assembled here to talk about how to ensure the security of our citizens within the framework of the Ministry for Emergency Situation, Civil Defence and Disaster Relief. This issue is a national priority, which the Government of the Russian Federation is constantly monitoring. We have assembled here to take stock of the work that was done last year and to formulate assignments for the near future.

The year 2012, as probably each year, was difficult in its own way. It saw large-scale disasters, such as the flooding in the Krasnodar Territory, mudslides in Dagestan, forest fires in the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts, and fires at different agencies, including the Defence Ministry. Regrettably, hundreds of people died and thousands were affected by the consequences. The amount of direct damages done by natural disasters and accidents has exceeded 200 billion roubles. This country clearly needs an effective emergency warning system. That sort of information must be communicated urgently to ensure that relevant decisions are made without delay. The executive order, On Creating a Comprehensive Emergency Warning System, was signed last November. This system should be launched before January 1, 2014, and should provide each person in hazardous areas with all vitally needed information. The consolidated emergency call system, or System 112, should be vigorously introduced and developed. You know, colleagues, that similar systems are operated in other countries, where they have proven themselves well. They make it possible to provide comprehensive and prompt aid, which is very important in certain situations. It is also extremely important to train people to follow security regulations and self-help techniques, which is a priority for your ministry. This work should be addressed at all levels, including, importantly, the municipal level. On the ground, it is easier to spot the accumulated problems and take steps to avert disasters. You know full well that occasionally feats of valor are committed in situations where you just have to fight against the results of someone’s negligence or complacency.

Much has been done in this country to enable us to deal with the consequences of various natural calamities as quickly and as efficiently as we possibly can. There is the National Crisis Control Centre (I  visited it last October), which has modern equipment and a well-trained staff: its operations are quite impressive. The federal districts and regions have established networks of everyday control centres that can promptly react to and cope with emergencies. But these centres should be constantly upgraded to meet the requirements of the times, both technologically and legally.

The Emergencies Ministry is continuing to receive state-of-the-art equipment as a result of the Government’s policies. We have done much in this regard in recent years, approving numerous important resolutions. I think that this has helped the ministry to attain its main goals. More than 8 billion roubles will be allocated for these purposes in 2013. I also would like to say that the ministry has a good track record cooperating with various agencies, including the Ministry of Defence. I think that this pooling of efforts is the right approach. This takes place all over the world because it is simply rational by government considerations. Being the largest country in the world, Russia needs this by all means.

We know full well how important mobility is for rescuers. One of the main goals for this year is for the Emergencies Ministry to establish an aeromobile task force to respond to large-scale emergencies and fires through the use of modern technologies. The civil defence system’s capabilities should be used to the fullest as well. Its undertakings and the relevant rules must be strictly complied with in full measure by all officials and, of course, by the general public.

Colleagues, the ministry’s employees saved more than 200,000 people last year. This is probably the most positive and important result and it is this result that makes people grateful. More than 2 million people have been provided aid by the national rescue service.

Rescuing is one of the most humane occupations on this planet. All of you work selflessly; you work honestly, often putting your health and even your life at risk. Thanks to your efforts, Russia possesses one of the most powerful emergency services in the world. And it is not only the matter of equipment that was mentioned earlier today (although, let me repeat it, the equipment should indeed be modern and I’d even say super-modern). It is the people who matter the most. I would like to say that our people are grateful to you and proud of you.

Today we will award government and agency decorations to some of you who are present here. I’d like to thank all of you for your service and wish you success. Now let us begin the award ceremony.