Orujali Hajiyev: “Decision has been passed to halt construction in 281 facilities up to now” - INTERVIEW

Orujali Hajiyev: “Decision has been passed to halt construction in 281 facilities up to now” - <font color=red> INTERVIEW  </font>
# 16 December 2008 09:43 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Rashad Suleymanov – APA. Azerbaijan’s Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations Orujali Hajiyev interviewed by APA

-Construction of how many multi-storeyed buildings neglecting technical safety rules has been halted by the Ministry of Emergency Situations? Are similar cases recorded in the regions?

-The Ministry’s Main State Construction Inspection of State Agency for Control over Construction Security carries out relevant measures in connection with the President’s decree on “Strengthening public control over construction in Azerbaijan Republic”. In connection with the implementation of the decree, under the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers “Rules on suspending construction work by State Agency for Control over Construction Security of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations” were confirmed. According to the decision, order was given to halt construction in 281 facilities, whose design documents had not been examined by the State Examination Department and which continued construction ignoring the “Instruction” to halt construction. The copies of the Agency’s orders to cut off electricity and water supply were also sent to Azersu, Bakielektrikshebeke, Sumgayitshebeke, Ganja Regional Energy Supply and other regional energy supply societies. The related city and region executive offices were also informed about it. 62 of these facilities are in Baku, 15 in Sumgayit, 31 in Ganja, 19 in Absheron and 154 in other towns and regions.
Despite these activities, in order to take more serious measures, relevant documents were prepared and submitted to the ministry’s Operation-Investigation Department in connection with 58 facilities, which had not registered their design documents in the State Examination Department and continued construction. 39 of these facilities are in Baku, 2 in Ganja, 3 in Absheron, 9 in other towns and regions.

-Is Azerbaijan ready for natural disasters?

-Taking into account the regular measures in this field I can say yes to some extent. But I should say that no country is completely able to prevent large-scale emergency situations. That’s why, first of all monitoring systems covering all kinds of natural disasters should be established, complex measures should be taken to reduce the damage and destructions caused by natural disasters, organize monitoring, establish early warning systems and raise people’s awareness. These measures should be accompanied by scientific-research work, the problems should be studied from social, economic and scientific aspects, the damage caused by natural disasters should be assessed accurately. Measures should also be taken to weaken impact on nature, people and farm, in the places not protected from natural disasters effective usage of lands and scientific management of farms should be taken into consideration.
Azerbaijan is one of the regions, where natural disasters are widely observed, all kinds of disasters are observed here except those happening on the coasts of the world ocean, these disasters cause serious damage on the country’s economy every year. Settlements, farms located in 825km area along the Caspian Sea shore undergo water rise, about 400 settlements undergo floods, 100 settlements land slides, about 10 settlements undergo snow slip. 800-900 sq km of the country’s territory (86.6 thousand sq km) is under the danger of land slide, more than half of the country’s population has been settled in seismic area, towns and villages, civil and industrial facilities exist in these areas and this causes serious problems for normal activity of important and population’s safety.

Apart from it, oil, gas pipelines and petrochemical facilities are additional sources of danger. Rapid development of scientific-technical progress increased ecological and other threats and this makes protection of human life from natural and man-made disasters urgent.

Ministry of Emergency Situations feeling special care and attention of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev since its establishment carries out necessary measures effectively using control systems to prevent an emergency situation.

-Has the formation of the Ministry of Emergency Situations been completed? What activities are being carried out to establish regional centers?

-As you know, the ministry was established in December, 2005. Under the relevant decree of the President, the ministry was commissioned to protect the country’s population and territories from natural and man-made disasters, prevent emergency cases, eliminate their consequences, ensure fire safety, safety if people in water basins, safety of small ships, technical safety in industry, mine work, construction safety, pursue state policy in establishing state material reserves funds and carry out management and control in these spheres. The ministry is also to react quickly in case of emergency situations, organize protection of strategic facilities undergoing natural, man-made and terrorist threats.

Since its establishing the ministry alongside with the organizational issues has focused on the forming of its structures, improving of material-technical basis, its strengthening and modernization, as well as establishing of the new institutions on the directions of its authorities. Over the past period the ministry opened its administrative building, as well as buildings of five regional centers, the State Firefighting Service, five administrative and supportive buildings of Civil Defense Forces and six points of the State Rescue Service at Sea. Now we are building three regional centers, points of the Aviation Group, the Rescue Service at Sea, five regiments of the Civil Defense Forces, 12 depots of the State Firefighting Service and four facilities of the ministry’s different bodies are under reconstruction.

According to the orders issued by the President of Azerbaijan, the State Agency for Regulation of Nuclear and Radiological Activities, Academy of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the State Stock of Grain were established this year. We are carrying out the appropriate measures toward functioning of those bodies.

It means that process of forming and completing of the Ministry of Emergency Situations is going on and purposeful work is done to reach international standards using the experiences of developed countries.

The regional centers have a significant role in the protection of different regions and population from the natural and industrial disasters, prevention of emergency situations and elimination of their results. Nine regional centers are considered to be established for fulfilling of duties of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the regions. Baku, North-Western, Sumgayit, Southern and Mugan regional centers are operating now. Northern, Lowland and Karabakh regional centers are under the construction and reconstruction of the Ganja regional center is completing at the present time.

-Is the forming of the State Rescue Service at Sea completed?

- Today the State Rescue Service at Sea undertakes high-level search and rescue measures toward security of the people at sea and resort centers. The center has 31 points and 7 posts, which included four diver-searching groups. The service is controlling 825 km coastal area of the Caspian Sea, as well as lakes and other basins. All points and posts meet the modern standards and were provided with the well-designed administrative buildings. Enough modern rescue equipments and techniques were purchased in recent years. The forming process of the State Rescue Service at Sea was completed and the service is fully able to provide security of the people at sea.

- Can you announce statistics of last beach season?

-In compare with the previous years last statistics enable us to say that the service established its activity in a right direction. As a result of improved rescue operations the casualties at sea reduced in compare with the previous years and the people became more confident in the service’s activity.

No casualties were observed in the public and private beaches this year. Despite all preventive measures, there were some losses in uncontrolled areas of the water basins. 60 people were drowned in the uncontrolled areas. 368 people were rescued. 243 people were rescued in the public beaches, 35 – in the water storages and 17 – in the private beaches. The rescue operations were provided even in the areas banned for beaches and 61 people were rescued at sea and 12 – in the rivers.

-What countries did you purchase special techniques and equipments from in 2008?

-The ministry has done much work in 2008, as it was in the past two years, to provide its bodies with the special techniques and equipments. We prefer modern techniques and equipments produced in Europe. 68 Iveco-Camiva firefighting vehicles were purchased from France, 22 Man-Ziegler vehicles from Germany, as well as 10 trucks installed on Mercedes-Benz chassis, 14 US-made heavy techniques (excavators-cleaners of the landslides, avalanches and collapses) and 16 rescue vehicles and five motorcycles made in Germany, two Mi-17-1B helicopters and one BE-200 CS amphibious plane made in Russia, four Yamaha boats made in Japan and nine Russian Gaz -3302 vehicles, as well as other techniques and equipments were purchased and put on operation. At the same time we purchased a package of mobile diagnostics to check the buildings and installations, special equipments for extension of telecommunication system in the ministry’s administrative building, 4500 firefighting suits and equipments from the United Arab Emirates, special suits for the Civil Defense Forces, and different special equipments for the Special Risk Rescue Service, necessary techniques for establishing of Crisis Management Centers and others.

- Is the Crisis Management Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations functioning with its full forces?

- The crisis centralized managing is new in our country. The international experience was widely learned for establishing of the Crisis Management Center.

A number of comprehensive measures were taken for establishing of the crisis managing systems. For example 112 Emergency Call Center was put on operation in the country. Today subscribers of any mobile operator can contact free 24-hour 112 call center throughout the country.

Moreover, operation department was established in Crisis Management Center to control crisis. Men on duty received information on crisis via 112 call center within a day and proper measures are taken to prevent the results and forces and means are involved in the site. E-maps area used in the Center to control sites of forces and means of Ministry .We started to implement GPS system to control forces and means and it gave chance for operative function of means near the site.
Moreover, the Center can establish video conference with regional centers and proper bodies of the Ministry. Two special purpose cars provided with satellite are used to shoot the accident from the site.

Special cameras were installed in separate districts of the city to follow the accident. Such kinds of cameras are expected to install in special purpose aircrafts and vessels. Crisis Management Hall was established to ensure mutual activity of representatives of proper ministries and committees to eliminate results of large-scale accidents. The hall ensures activity of responsible persons of 17 ministries and committee. Special administrative building is planned to construct to improve activity of Crisis Management Center.

- Which countries has Ministry of Emergency Situations signed cooperation agreements with?

Ministry of Emergency Situations takes proper measures to establish relations with international countries having big experience in emergency situations management.

Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency established cooperation with US Department of Energy, United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, Minister of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies, and Natural Disasters, Belarusian Ministry of Emergency Situations, Korean Construction and Transport Ministry, Korean National Emergency Management Agency , Ukrainian State Committee on Nuclear Radiation Safety, Ministry of Ukraine of Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of Chernobyl Catastrophe, Ministry of Interior, Overseas and Territorial Collectivities, Bulgarian Ministry of State Policy for Disasters and Accidents, Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform of Romania , Turkish Construction and City Building Ministry, UK Emergency Center, Israeli Defence Ministry , Interior Ministry of Qatar , GTZ (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit ) and several measures were taken to exchange experience , improve personnel, strengthen material technical base.

Moreover, Ministry of Emergency cooperates with UN, NATO, OSCE, CIS, GUAM, BSEC, International Organization for Chemical Disarmament, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Civil Defence Organization. Officials of Ministry participate in conferences, trainings and seminars to exchange experience and improve speciality.