Russia declares state of emergency in fire hit regions

President Dmitry Medvedev today declared a state of emergency in seven Russian regions worst hit by the raging wildfires as the toll has mounted to 40, even as firefighters battled hard to douse the flames.

Last Updated: Aug 03, 2010, 00:30 AM IST

Moscow: President Dmitry Medvedev today
declared a state of emergency in seven Russian regions worst
hit by the raging wildfires as the toll has mounted to 40,
even as firefighters battled hard to douse the flames.

The emergency has been declared in the republics of
Mariy El and Mordovia as well as in Vladimir, Voronezh,
Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Ryazan regions, a Kremlin release
said.

Under the decree the regional authorities have been
ordered to restrict the movement of people and economic
activities in the affected areas.

Presidential decree has formalised the full scale
induction of Army and Interior Ministry troops in combating
the forest fires.

Besides the local authorities have been recommended
to involve volunteers and social organisations in
fire-fighting and relief work.

The death toll in the wildfires that have swept
Russia has now risen to 40, the Interfax reported.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who compared
the scale and challenges of wildfires with the invasions
Russia, has been facing from time-immemorial today warned the
heads of affected regions will be held personally responsible.

"The entire responsibility for the performance of
this task lies on the heads of constituent territories of the
Russian Federation," Putin said in his televised comments.
He also demanded that officials tighten fire safety
regulations.

"The irresponsible behaviour of those who ignore the
bans and violate elementary safety rules comes at too high a
price for ordinary citizens," Putin said.

EMERCOM Crisis Management Centre Gen. Vladimir
Stepanov said a total of 265 residential areas had been "saved
from advancing fires" within the last 24 hours.
He said there was no threat to Federal Nuclear
Centre at Sarov in Nizhny Novgorod region and Novo-
Voronezhskaya NPP in Voronezh region, where emergency has
been declared.

RIA Novosti reported that wildfires raging in the
central part of European Russia have also left over 2,000
people homeless and caused damage estimated at over 4.6
billion roubles (USD 150 million).

The wildfires have affected 14 Russian regions, with
the most severe destruction in the Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh
and Ryazan regions.

As dense smoke and smog covered the Russian capital
the army units completed the installation of a pipeline in the
Yegorievsk district near Moscow to supply water to burning
peat bogs.

PTI

Tags: