“Zhoghovurd” reports and comments on continuing wildfires in two Armenian forests. “As a result, quite serious damage has been inflicted on nature,” writes the paper. “Decades will be needed to reverse the damage to the Khosrov Forest Reserve caused in the last few days. These wildfires have demonstrated that contrary to [emergency situations] ministry claims, the system is not prepared for emergencies … It is scary to even imagine what will happen if there is a real emergency in our country.”
“Environmentalists are bringing the Ministry for Emergency Situations to task,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “They criticize it for not taking preventing measures and lacking the equipment to deal with the continuing fires.” Ministry officials counter, the paper says, that there have been no such massive wildfires in Armenia for the last 14 years, that the Khosrov forest terrain is extremely rugged and that the fire is fanned by strong winds. “The ministry’s justifications are understandable,” comments the paper. “Still, some questions do arise.” In particular, it points to vague ministry warnings to citizens regarding how to prevent and cope with fires.
Meanwhile, a ministry spokeswoman, Nana Gndoyan, assures “Aravot” that firefighters and other ministry divisions have “done everything” to contain the fires. She disagrees with claims that the ministry’s decision to ask Russia to send a water-dropping plane to Armenia proves the opposite. Gndoyan argues that Russian emergency services themselves needed months to end wildfires across Russia. “A natural disaster is such that you can be properly prepared for coping with it but will struggle at some point,” she goes on.
“Hraparak” reports that the governing body of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) will hold its first meeting after a summer recess. Sarkisian returned from vacation, reportedly spent in Germany, at the weekend.