MOSCOW/VLADIVOSTOK, August 31 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government considers allotting 12 billion rubles ($360 million) to victims of a massive flood that ravaged the country’s far eastern reaches, a spokeswoman for the Russian emergency services said Saturday.
The money, which will come from a state emergency fund, is to fund rebuild efforts and compensations for flood victims, Irina Rossius said in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday the government must begin payments to victims by September 10.
Putin, who is currently touring the flooded areas, has also blasted local authorities for what he called subpar work accommodating the flood victims.
“[The refugees] are writing that they are fed some sort of gruel that children can’t eat. What’s this? Do I need to put someone on a diet of gruel so that there would be no gruel [in the refugee camps]?” said Putin, who is known for his habit of personally involving in affairs of selected citizens in need of state help.
The government has so far allotted 3.6 billion rubles ($110 million) to flood cleanup, including planned compensations for the 100,000 flood victims, many of whom lost their houses to the unprecedented calamity.
As of Saturday, water level in the Amur River stood at an all-time high in the 120 years of meteorological observations in the area and continued to rise. The month-long flood has affected five regions in Siberia and the Russian Far East, with damage estimated at 30 billion rubles ($1 billion).
Putin sacked Saturday his envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, Viktor Ishayev, appointing in his place presidential aide Yury Trutnev, who was also promoted to deputy prime minister. Ishayev also lost his job as Far East Development Minister, though a Kremlin spokesman denied the sacking was linked to the flood.