Indrek Kiverik, Estonian Embassy in Moscow
Today Russian President Dmitri Medvedev presented the Order of Friendship to Director General of the Estonian Rescue Board Kalev Timberg in a formal ceremony in Georg Hall in the Kremlin to thank Estonia for its help in battling the forest fires that ravaged Russia.
In addition to Russian citizens, representatives from the rescue organisations of 15 countries that helped battle the wide-spread forest fires that occurred in Russia in August were recognised during the ceremony that took place in the Kremlin today.
Three Estonian rescue workers have previously been recognised by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. The medal “For Participation in Humanitarian Operations” was given to Head of the Rescue and Analysis Section of the Rescue Board Tarmo Terep and Elva Command Chief Igor Galjutin. Director of the Rescue Board Public Relations Office Jevgeni Jutkevitch was given the medal “For Co-operation in Rescue” by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations for organising technical aid.
The most extensive forest fires in Russia’s recent history were caused by the most extreme heat wave in decades and claimed over 50 human lives. Thousands of people lost their homes in the fires, and tens of thousands of hectares of forests and crops were destroyed.
In August the Rescue Board sent four pumps and ten kilometres of hoses to Russia to help the rescue workers extinguish the forest fires, as well as mounts and other components necessary for getting water to the burning areas. The extinguishing supplies were transported to Russia by two Rescue Board instructors, who gave guidelines for their usage and presented the supplies to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
Arranging the aid for Russia cost nearly 1.5 million kroons (95 870 EUR), which was allocated from the Foreign Ministry budget. The Foreign Ministry also supported the people in Russia that lost their homes and possessions with 1.56 million kroons. Helping the families of those who lost their homes in the fires and providing the extinguishing supplies to rescue workers was financed with a total of 3 million kroons (191 740 EUR) from the Foreign Ministry’s budget. Estonian residents also donated hundreds of thousands of kroons through various organisations to help the victims of the Russian fires.
Estonia has also been thanked for its efforts by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Minister of Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu.
Russian President Presents Order to Director of Estonian Rescue Board