Shavkat Mirziyoyev: The flood has proved a bitter lesson for us

At the start of a video conference on May 5, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, expounded once more on the efforts in progress in the country to combat the coronavirus infection as well as on the disasters in the Bukhara and Syrdarya regions. The head of state noted in particular:

What we all observe today is how humanity is struggling with both the coronavirus and equally the resulting economic crisis. A growing number of countries are gradually softening lockdown measures to overcome the difficult situation. Today, no one in the world knows for sure how long this pandemic will last. Therefore, no matter how difficult it may be, we must learn to work and live in a pandemic, and in accordance with all its requirements.

Thanks to the Almighty, the epidemiological situation in Uzbekistan has currently been stabilising. With each passing day, there are more recovering patients than those sick. As a result, out of 2,204 patients infected with coronavirus, 1,454, or 66 per cent of patients have fully recovered. Additionally, 83 per cent of quarantined people have already returned home. Positive dynamics are evident. All necessary measures are being taken to treat then740 patients remaining in hospitals, restore their health and return them to their families.

All this has been a challenge. To date, we have streamlined 2 trillion 250 billion soums from the Anti-Crisis Fund and USD 500 million from funds of international financial institutions. Now, taking advantage of the fact that the epidemiological situation has changed for the better, we must gradually weaken the lockdown regime in our economy. These restrictions have a huge negative impact on economic development and the life of the population. In this respect, we have taken the first steps to soften the quarantine requirements in order to create convenience for our people, especially farmers and entrepreneurs.

This year, the entire human race, including us, are tested for strength. Over the past week alone, our people have faced a series of unexpected trials. You are well aware of the severe natural disaster that occurred on the night of April 27-28 in the Bukhara region, especially in Alat and Karakul districts. It impaired more than 38,000 homes, as well as 847 social facilities and crops throughout the region. Serious damage was caused to agriculture, manufacturing sector, services and infrastructure.

 

 

We have taken all necessary measures to eliminate the consequences of the calamity. The government commission is working around the clock. To date, the roofs of 70 per cent of social facilities and 20 per cent of the homes have been restored. In addition, five thousand kilometers of power lines, 1.1 thousand transformers have been repaired and power supply restored for 286 thousand residents. Individual houses are also being overhauled.

Unfortunately, the trials did not end there. As you know, due to the emergency at the Sardoba reservoir in the Syrdarya region, about 90 thousand people from 24 mahallas of the Sardoba, Akaltyn and Mirzaabad districts were immediately evacuated to safe areas. All of them are provided with the basic necessities of food, clothing and other products. The government commission is working to remove the consequences and investigate the causes of the flood.

 

 

Until all issues related to the restoration and repair of damaged housing, the return of people to their homes, assistance to them in establishing their lives, restoring infrastructure, protecting public health are resolved, all executives assigned to Syrdarya shall continue working in emergency mode. The life of people in these areas should not only be restored to its previous state, but also improved. I think we are obliged to build them new housing, social facilities, and create new jobs.

To date, large-scale works have been undertaken in a number of mahallas to clear and renovate. As a result, more than 53 thousand people have returned to their homes or moved to those of close relatives. I repeat: our state and society will not leave anyone unattended in the face of such unexpected disasters. The Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense, as well as the National Guard played an important role in saving lives and evacuating people. Today they are widely occupied with emergency recovery works.

Unfortunately, according to available data, four people died as a result of the natural disaster, one went missing. In particular, two officers of the National Guard were carried away by a strong stream of water during the warning and rescue operations. They sacrificed their lives and saved the lives of hundreds of people. I express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. The courage of our gentlemen will become for all their colleagues, and young people, a model of devotion and selfless service to the Motherland and our people. To be sure, the disasters in Bukhara and Syrdarya are a test sent to us by the Almighty. We must survive it steadily, working hard.

 


 “I am convinced that together with our people, we will overcome these difficulties in cohesion and harmony.” President Shavkat Mirziyoyev


 

I would like to emphasise that depite these difficulties, our nation did not end up confused in the face of trials. You can see on TV how our people are showing cohesion; every day, every minute, they display kindness, compassion, and immense generosity. Quite telling in this respect is the fact that residents of the Syrdarya, Jizzakh and Tashkent regions voluntarily sheltered 81 per cent of those evacuated from Sardoba, Akaltyn, and Mirzaabad districts. Other regions, ministries, companies and associations, as well as compatriots collected within a short span of time a lot of aid for Bukhara and Syrdarya, sent building materials, food, clothes, medicines and household products.

I take this opportunity to once again express my sincere gratitude to our generous, munificent and compassionate nation. Our people can be confident with regard to one aspect, and there should be no place for any speculation and rumors. At my request, the law enforcement authorities began an objective, impartial and comprehensive investigation into the flood incident. I assure you that all those guilty, regardless of who they are and what position they hold, will be liable before the law.

This flood has proved a bitter lesson for us. With the engagement of international experts, we will conduct a deep examination of the entire dam. Only then will we come to a final conclusion. In addition, on my instructions, all relevant hydropower facilities, dams and waterpower plants that may be subject to erosion due to heavy rains are currently being studied by relevant government authorities.

Unfortunately, the flood in Sardoba extended to some settlements in the neighboring Maktaaral district of the Turkestan region of Kazakhstan. With the Honorable President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev we discussed this issue during a recent telephone conversation, in the spirit of mutual understanding and openness. Yesterday, a delegation led by Turkestan region akim Umirzak Shukeyev visited the scene and studied the situation in detail.

For a long time, we have lived with the fraternal Kazakh people side by side, we drank water from the same river, we are close as relatives. We always stood shoulder to shoulder and supported each other, both on bright days and during trials. We very much regret that this unexpected technological disaster has caused so many troubles and damage not only to our population, but also to our neighbors, our brothers, whose settlements and crops were hurt.

 

 

Our government, relevant ministries and agencies, local hokimiyats, other responsible officials and experts, as well as Kazakhstani partners will undoubtedly cooperate closely in combating the consequences of the disaster. We also expressed our readiness to provide our Kazakhstani brothers with necessary assistance in the aftermath of the disaster.

I am convinced that together with our people, we will overcome these difficulties in cohesion and harmony.