Last month's major storm, which left tens of thousands of households without power and much of Southeastern Estonia cut off from the rest of the country, is hopefully shifting some important things into place, Võru Mayor Anti Allas (SDE) said.
Allas was present at Monday's storm meeting of the Government Security Committee, which under the direction of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) discussed how the state could better be prepared for its next crisis.
Ratas, who got on a helicopter to survey the storm damage himself as soon as his plane from the U.S. landed on Nov. 1, promised an honest discussion in the committee regarding the widespread power outage as well as the causes and consequences thereof.
"It was a constructive discussion," Allas confirmed after the meeting, where he provided an overview of the situation in the city of Võru, which was hit with both a power and communications blackout.
By the end of the year, the city will be able to ensure its residents with a minimum amount of heat and water in the event of another such blackout thanks to a generator that has been ordered by the city government.
According to Allas, the biggest issue during the recent crisis was phone lines and communications going down after Telia, one of the biggest telecommunications operators in the region, was weakened or taken out altogether. "And that is the state's responsibility," he added.
Another major concern is the fact that the state has not ensured that autonomously-powered gas stations are located in every county seat, the mayor continued.
"The city's preparedness will be established over the next five months, at which point we will be able to handle even bigger power outages," Allas stressed. "The state is in a more difficult position, as things move more slowly. How do we make clear to communications companies that their cell towers have to work for longer than batteries last, and that fuel has to reach county seats? From what I understand, the solving of both issues will now be addressed more seriously."
Editor: Aili Vahtla