There must be a single central coordinator for the smooth handling of crisis situations and rapid communication of information, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab said after a meeting held to get an overview of the consequences of the storm that struck South Estonia recently.
At the meeting representatives of ministries, local governments and vital service providers drew conclusions about dealing with storm damage and the lessons learned, spokespeople for the Ministry of Finance said. It was also discussed how to better cope with the consequences of extreme weather in the future.
"The storm that wreaked havoc in South Estonia clearly indicated the bottlenecks where there must be better preparation for crises and the solving of them in the future," Aab said. "Initial mapping in solving recent storm wind damage has been done in cooperation with ministries, local governments and vital service providers. One of the key lessons is to think about the roles of authorities in crisis situations and who is the central coordinator. Work also needs to be done to ensure better fuel accessibility and mobile capability in the event of a power outage," the minister added.
Aab added the movement of information between the state, local governments, energy companies, communications operators as well as local residents and entrepreneurs must be improved.
"I am proposing that the government discuss the lessons of the storm in South Estonia at a cabinet meeting. It is important to review and agree on which authority and at what level will play a coordinating role in complex crises. If legislation needs to be changed for clarity, the government must also agree on that," the minister said.
In addition, Aab said that it is important in cooperation between authorities to process the crisis plans at all levels and, if necessary, update them together. The minister said that more attention should be paid to crisis communication. "The harsh weather conditions this time taught us to think about how to communicate with each other and inform locals and businesses when there is no mobile connection. Local authorities should also be assisted in this by providing more crisis exercises and training to them, if necessary," Aab said.
A government crisis committee is to convene at the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior in late November and is set to discuss the lessons learned from the storm and the solutions for smoother rescue work in the future.
Editor: Helen Wright