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Zubkov urges settling Nevelsk housing certificates problems

Nevelsk A total of 1,850 state housing certificates have been issued for residents of the town of Nevelsk on the Sakhalin Island that was hit by a devastating earthquake on August 2, 2007, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting on issues of elimination of the earthquake aftermath in Nevelsk chaired by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov on Friday.

The minister said that one of the problems is non-observance of the norms regarding the number of people registered at a certain living floor space. “We are still insisting on the return to this sphere of sanitary norm of registration of citizens in houses - 10 people cannot be registered at a floor space of 10 metres,” the minister explained. Shoigu recalled that according to the norms in effect, 18 square meters of housing should be provided per person.

As for the provision of material aid to citizens that lost property in the earthquake, the emergencies minister said that a sum of 191.820 million was envisaged for the corresponding payments. The payments amounted to 183.519 million roubles. Governor of the Sakhalin region Alexander Khoroshavin said that thus 96 percent of the affected citizens got material aid.

Shoigu noted that the federal centre has “fulfilled all its obligations” regarding the compensatory payments and housing certificates. According to the minister, the work at the level of municipalities, the mayor’s office and leadership of the region should be carried out more actively in this sphere. The minister added, however, that the Sakhalin region administration has organised a rather “tough record keeping system,” which will make it possible to make all the payments in the short run.

In addition, Shoigu drew attention to the unsatisfactory quality of the compilation of the lists of citizens having the right to receive payments. “Unfortunately, persons who have rather long been in prison have been put on the payment list,” the minister explained. According to him, 24 families have been twice registered in the lists, and also 36 deceased persons were put on the lists.

Khoroshavin said at a meeting in Khabarovsk that was held under the chairmanship of First Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week that a total of 700 apartments out of planned 900 have been commissioned for residents of Nevelsk who lost homes in the quake.

The governor noted that the lack of reliable transport communication with the mainland considerably affects the dynamic development of the economy of the Sakhalin region that today accounts for over one-fourth of the gross regional product of the whole Far East federal district.

“The appearance of a reliable transport artery in the form of a tunnel-bridge pass linking the Sakhalin region with the mainland will positively affect the development of the economy of the islands (Sakhalin and Kuriles) and the people’s mood in general, because they will no longer have a feeling of detachment from the rest of Russia,” the governor said.

Khoroshavin urged to return to the old system of the distribution of payment for the subsoil use between the region and federal centre from the implementation of the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects. It had been initially planned that the Sakhalin region would get 60 percent from the payment volume, and the federal centre – 40 percent. However, in actual fact at present the Sakhalin region is getting only five percent of the payment sum, according to the governor.

Khoroshavin said earlier that the construction of new houses for residents of Nevelsk would be completed by August 1 this year. “The schedule of the construction of apartment houses for the town residents has been submitted to the government. The document specifies the deadline for the commissioning of housing for Nevelsk residents – August 1, 2008,” the governor said.

Last year’s earthquake damaged beyond repair 239 apartment houses and 29 other buildings and it was decided to pull them down. About half of people who lost homes in the calamity expressed the desire to quit Nevelsk and these people were handed state housing certificates for the acquisition of housing in other regions of the country.

Quake-resistant houses are being built for the rest people that lost homes in Nevelsk and in the Troitskoye settlement of the Aniva district.

The press service of the Sakhalin region administration reported on January 11 that 1,094 people were engaged in repair work in the town. The construction of new apartment buildings in Nevelsk as well as in the Troitskoye settlement near Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk continued in line with the schedule and was not stopped during New Year holidays.

The earthquake in Nevelsk that occurred on August 2 had a magnitude of six-seven points on the Richter scale. The powerful earth tremor damaged 239 apartment houses and 29 other buildings and it was decided to pull them down as they are beyond repair.

About 40 three-storey designed to resist nine-point earthquakes are currently being built in Nevelsk and in the Troitskoye settlement of the Aniva district.

The August 2 earthquake in which Nevelsk was hit the worst had a magnitude of 6.8 points on the Richter scale. After that, 14 aftershocks were registered in the vicinity of Nevelsk; most of them had a magnitude of more than five points.

The power of the shocks reduced with distance. People in the island’s major commercial port city of Kholmsk experienced the shocks of 5.0 to 6.0 points, while the regional capital Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk had a mere 3.0 to 4.0 points, according to Sakhalin seismologists.

Two people died in the quake in Nevelsk, 12 were injured, 34 people applied for medical aid over the aggravation of cardiovascular diseases.

The Nevelsk earthquake left as many as 3,500 families - over 8,000 people - without shelter. About half of them decided to leave the town and settle in other regions of the country. The state housing certificate gives them this opportunity. The Sakhalin region administration officials suppose that there are dissatisfied people among Nevelsk residents because they were neglected during compiling of the list of persons entitled to getting housing certificates and offered them to settle this problem through court.

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