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Cablegate: Emercom: Cooperation in Emergency Management

VZCZCXRO1536
RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #0078/01 0141552
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141552Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6111
INFO RUCFAAN/FEMA HQ WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 4730
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 2594
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2931

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000078

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL SENV RS
SUBJECT: EMERCOM: COOPERATION IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Summary
-----------

1. (SBU) The Russian Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergencies and
Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) and a U.S. delegation led by R. David
Paulison, FEMA Administrator, met in St. Petersburg December 3-7.
The purpose of the meeting, the twelfth in a series, was to review
bilateral cooperation in emergency management. EMERCOM and FEMA
have some similarities, but there are significant differences in
their capabilities and structure. Relations between EMERCOM and
U.S. counterparts have been, and remain, productive. End Summary.

EMERCOM Background
---------------------

2. (SBU) One of only five ministries reporting directly to
President Putin, EMERCOM is often referred to as "Russia's FEMA,"
although its mission is much broader. EMERCOM - known in Russian
as the Ministry for Extraordinary Situations (MCHS) - was
established on January 10, 1994. It was preceded by the Russian
Rescue Corps, which had existed since December 1990 and an interim
organization, the Emergency and Civil Defense State Committee. The
head of EMERCOM is Sergey Shoigu, an engineer, who has been granted
the rank of General of the Army. Shoigu's tenure dates to 1991,
when he was appointed head of the Russian Rescue Corps. He is the
longest serving minister in the Russian government, popular with the
public and a prominent figure in the United Russia party. Some of
EMERCOM's missions correspond to those of FEMA, the USAID/OFDA
(Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance) and the disaster
relief/assistance missions of the US National Guard and Coast
Guard.

The 12th U.S. - Russian Meeting
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) As part of a continuing series of Joint Committee
meetings, from December 3-7, 2007, representatives from EMERCOM,
FEMA, USEUCOM, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Iowa National
Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Consulate St. Petersburg, USAID and
Embassy Moscow met in St. Petersburg to review the past year's work
plan, to agree on the 2008-2009 Work Plan and to sign the Protocol
of the 12th meeting of the Joint U.S. - Russian Committee on
Cooperation in Emergency Management. The resulting Protocol and
approved Work Plan encompass five Region-to-Region cooperation
events, 23 Training and Exercise events, nine Scientific Workshops,
Conferences and Exhibitions, and discussions of Joint Humanitarian
Projects in third countries. First Deputy Minister Ruslan Tsalikov
headed the Russian delegation. FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison
headed the U.S. delegation. Both delegations delivered
presentations on firefighting and training exercises. Administrator
Paulison commented that there is an opportunity to share
technologies in the arena of fighting large wild fires. Tsalikov
replied that the Russians are looking to unify international
fire-fighting assets in Europe based on the requirement demonstrated
by the August 2007 wildfires in Greece. Tsalikov advocated
increased coordination and training events between the U.S. and
Russian organizations. Paulison agreed that sharing techniques
would result in better capability for both sides.

Big Difference from FEMA - The Military Component
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (U) EMERCOM has 23,000 military personnel in its civil
protection force. They represent the backbone of the MCHS. These
forces consist of rescue brigades, mechanized civil protection
regiments and battalions, special protection companies and detached
helicopter squadrons. They are outfitted with specialized equipment
for engineering, medical, radiation and chemical and biological
protection missions. In peacetime they function within the
framework of the Unified Emergency Situations Prevention and
Response State System (UEPRSS). In wartime, they are under control
of the Civil Protection System.

EMERCOM: Radiological Response
-------------------------------

5. (U) Another facet of EMERCOM that differs from FEMA is its
clinic system for radiological response issues. The Nikiforov
Center of Emergency and Radiation Medicine (NRCERM) is specifically
designed to handle the aftermath of radioactive exposure to EMERCOM
personnel. Director Sergey Aleksanin described the capabilities of
the existing facility and stated that another clinic would open in
2010 to enhance EMERCOM's capabilities. He also said that one of
the trends in collaboration with the U.S. and others has been the
response to the medical aspects of radiation and bio-chemical
terrorism. Referring to a radiological response scenario, he said

MOSCOW 00000078 002 OF 002


that his greatest concern wasn't EMERCOM's ability to respond,
rather that the "public reaction" to such an event was
unpredictable. He said the NRCERM maintains a complete register of
specialists for all EMERCOM regions to be able to respond quickly
and appropriately.

EMERCOM Command and Control
----------------------------

6. (SBU) EMERCOM's Crisis Management Center (CMC) provides
continuous management of all forces and assets allocated for
disaster prevention and response. The Northwest Regional CMC, in St.
Petersburg, is a modern, 24-hour operation. General Shamsutdin
Dagirov demonstrated the center's capabilities, in real time, to
monitor the situation in major malls, train stations and other
public areas via cameras. Flat screen monitors in public areas have
the ability to display messages or video. They normally display
public service messages, but EMERCOM officers in the CMC can quickly
change them to give safety instructions should there be an incident
such as fire or public disturbance. When asked if EMERCOM could
extend this system to areas such as the Metro, General Dagirov
stated that the Metro had its own system for surveillance. However,
there are plans to extend EMERCOM's coverage to other above-ground
locations.

International Operations
-------------------------

7. (SBU) EMERCOM took part in the international humanitarian
operation that brought relief to tsunami victims in South-East Asia
from January - April 2005. EMERCOM also contributed to the
Hurricane Katrina relief effort, by their count delivering over 60
tons of humanitarian aid via three sorties of Il-76TD heavy
transport aircraft. As of December 2007, Tsalikov said that EMERCOM
had signed 54 inter-governmental and international cooperation
agreements for emergency humanitarian response. Administrator
Paulison and First Deputy Minster Tsalikov also discussed future
cooperative efforts to include table-top exercises, meetings of
experts and joint efforts to study oil spill clean-ups in ice/snow
conditions.

Burns

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