Rescue Board's calls on par with earlier storms

Snowstorm Birgit in Tallinn, December 12, 2022.
Snowstorm Birgit in Tallinn, December 12, 2022. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Rescue Board did not receive noticeably more calls for help than during previous storms on Monday when Snowstorm Birgit ravaged Estonia.

Tuuli Räim, head of the Rescue Board's emergency readiness department, told the "Ringvaade" evening talk show that weather forecasts were on the money and weather conditions difficult all over Estonia on Monday.

However, the Rescue Board did not receive too many calls. "The number of calls we've received has rather been modest compared to other storms. There have been around 60 storm calls," she said Monday evening (this had risen to 70 an hour later – ed.). "Most have been for clearing fallen trees from roads."

She said that rescuers have helped power distribution system operator Elektrilevi's brigades access places where power lines have needed repairs.

Räim said that it seems people have taken storm warnings seriously. "People have behaved sensibly. It is quite easy to put one's life in danger in such a snowstorm if the person goes on a long trip without the right equipment and gets stuck in a snowdrift," she said, adding that no such incidents have been registered during Birgit.

She said that thousands of households losing power on the western Estonian islands is the severest consequence of the storm and heavy snowfall that preceded it in the region on Saturday.

"Once power is gone, other services are not far behind – heating, water etc. Schools and kindergartens need to be closed. A snowstorm that results in service disruptions is quite a nuisance. And that is precisely what Birgit has done today and over the weekend," Räim said.

The Rescuer Board's representative said that rescuers and Elektrilevi will get no sleep going into Tuesday as roads need to be cleared and power outages in Saaremaa still remain.

Around 6,000 households were still without power Monday evening. Kindergartens and schools will be closed in Hiiumaa and Saaremaa tomorrow due to severe conditions.

The transport administration has extended its special snow-clearing regime until 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

Public transport is not running on schedule.


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Editor: Merili Nael

Source: "RIngvaade"

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