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The President of the Republic inspected the storm inflicted damage in Pärnu and Lääne Counties

President Arnold Rüütel today visited Pärnu and Lääne Counties to inspect progress of work done in liquidation of the damage caused by the storm of January 8-9.

The visit to Pärnu County started with a meeting in the County Government, where Toomas Kivimägi, the acting Governor of Pärnu County, and Deputy Secretary General Kalev Timberg, the Chief of the Government Crises Management Staff, who accompanied the President during the visit in Pärnu County, familiarised the head of state with the work already done and the need of assistance in future.

In the village of Rannametsa, in Häädemeeste municipality, President Rüütel met with Urmas Aav, the mayor of the municipality, and fishermen of the OÜ Merikuld, who showed the head of state the hangar and fishing vessels damaged by the storm and flood. In the village of Metsküla, in Tahkuranna municipality, President Rüütel visited the home of Aina Eisenschmidt on Suti farm. Also Eeri Tammik, the mayor of Tahkuranna municipality, greeted the President. Mayor Rein Talisoo and a marine researcher Jüri Tenson acquainted the head of state with storm damages at Valgeranna and elsewhere in Audru municipality.

In the village of Saulepa the President of the Republic visited also the home of Sirje and Ain Lopsik on Jõe farm in the polder area. In Vana-Pärnu district of the city of Pärnu, the head of state and Mayor of Pärnu Väino Hallikmägi visited the home of Eva Kalmus, a mother of five children. At the Spa Centre "Tervis", Vello Muliin, the manager of the Spa, showed President Rüütel the reconstruction work that had been started after the flood. The President of the Republic completed his visit in Pärnu County with a press conference for journalists.

County Governor Sulev Vare accompanied President Rüütel during the visit in Lääne County. The tour started with a visit to the summer camp of the Union for Child Welfare at Pivarootsi in Hanila municipality, where Alar Tamm, the president of the Union for Child Welfare, and mayor of Hanila municipality Arno Peksar spoke about the flood. In Ridala municipality President Rüütel and mayor of the municipality Toomas Schmidt visited Jugasaare harbour. In Haapsalu the head of state together with Mayor of Haapsalu Teet Kallasvee visited the home of Florida Siimre near the sea. At the end of his visit in Lääne County, the President of the Republic gave an interview to the newspaper "Lääne Elu".

President Rüütel said that the rescue and relief work, which has been done already and those who have organised the work, the Rescue Board and the Defence League, deserved recognition. But, according to the head of state, we have to improve our ability and means to prevent such natural disasters in future and to elaborate a better system of informing in the event of an emergency situation. "We have to review the available rescue equipment, need for possible coast protection facilities, as well as, building norms regulating the height of new buildings in coastal area and building materials. But most important thing is to pay attention to people who beside material loss have to cope with a serious emotional experience. Compassion and willingness to support each other help us best to overcome such natural disasters," the President of the Republic said.

According to the head of state, when assessing the damage caused to households, the experts should also take into consideration the social conditions of the family. "In many cases, we have to act just now and support people in their troubles in order to prevent even bigger potential losses in future - having in mind that we have to help with necessary basic tools and manpower to avoid the possibility that the wet damage to the buildings, caused by the flood, will deepen even further. Our first responsibility is to help people as much as the society can afford," President Rüütel added.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, January 31, 2005

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