Flooding takes toll on milk supplies

  • 2013-04-25
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Due to roads being cut off from flooding rivers, several farms near the town of Ilukste (in southeastern Latvia) have been forced to pour out their milk as milk-trucks have not been able to arrive to pick them up, said Daugavpils Mayor Zanna Kulakova, reports LETA. “We have received calls that these farmers are forced to pour out their milk as milk-trucks have not been able to pick the milk up due to roads being flooded,” said Kulakova.
She also said that power-utility company Latvenergo was not prepared for the floods, as they have not been able to obtain a boat to get to damaged power-lines in the area.

“I cannot believe such a large company is not capable of finding a boat to fix the power lines. These farms are without any electricity, and have to milk all their cows with their hands, which is extremely hard work. The local government has been able to locate a boat, and I hope the Latvenergo workers will be able to get to the property and fix the power-lines,” she said.
Kulakova added that approximately 5,000 hectares of land are currently flooded in Daugavpils Region, including agricultural land.

Asked about the government’s decision not to declare a state of emergency, Kulakova said that she is disappointed and pointed to the chaotic activities of the responsible services.
During an emergency Cabinet meeting on April 19, the government decided against declaring a state of emergency in the regions currently suffering from flood problems.

The Daugavpils City Council and Regional Council, as well as the Ogre and Plavinas Regional Councils had requested the government to declare a state of emergency to help tackle the flood problems in their regions.
Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, who was serving as acting prime minister, told members of the press on April 19 after the two-hour long emergency Saeima meeting that declaring a state of emergency is a very serious decision that threatens the whole country’s security. “Listening to the local government leaders, we came to the conclusion that we can ensure the necessary support without declaring a state of emergency,” Pabriks said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis said that the responsible services are on high-alert and monitoring the situation, and that they are ready to react if necessary.

Nevertheless, on April 22, the Crisis Management Council decided to declare a state of emergency in the city of Daugavpils and the region, said the prime minister. The decision was made in order for the State Fire and Rescue Service to be able to evacuate people forcibly. Dombrovskis explained that, if the situation deteriorates, taking into account that many local residents refuse to leave their homes, the Service will be able to evacuate them against their will and therefore rescue all concerned.

The government was to also convene an emergency session to decide on declaring a state of emergency in the region and review compensation for individual persons hit by floods.