‘There is an unheard-of influx of people into riverbanks’: drowning tragedies sweep Kazan
How many lives the water has claimed
During the scorcher, when the temperature is being stably above 30 degrees, citizens of Kazan are looking for shelter from it near water. At times, they don’t find it: as the Tatarstan office of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said on 28 June, four people drowned in Tatarstan water bodies last weekend alone, two people were rescued. 22 people in total have died since the beginning of this year’s swimming season (including a kid), 13 people have been rescued (including three children).
A 17-year-old teenager died in Kazan on 27 June, on the beach near Riviera waterpark. His body was recovered in the evening 25 metres far from the riverbank. Rescuers stressed that the place he had been swimming in wasn’t designed for this.
We should remind you that there are five beaches designed for swimming in Kazan.
But as of 28 June, the beaches Big Swan Lake and Lower Zarechye didn’t meet sanitary and epidemiological norms and it was prohibited to swim there. However, this didn’t stop Kazan citizens: more than a hundred swimmers gathered at the Lower Zarechye on 27 June.
Rescue stations and health posts operating from 9.00 to 20.00 were set up at all the beaches and leisure areas.
Since early 2021, 32 accidents in the water has been registered with 14 deaths, 18 people have been rescued, said head of the Office of Civil Protection of the city’s Executive Committee Ferdinant Timurkhanov on 28 June. 40 citizens were given first aid.
Timurkhanov emphasised that all death cases in Kazan had taken place in places that aren’t designed for swimming. In this respect, the administrations of districts have created mobile groups to patrol such facilities.
“Due to the restrictions imposed by the Russian consumer rights protection watchdog and the abnormally hot weather, there is an unheard-of influx of people to riverbanks. Not only beaches but also all riverbanks and lakes with access to water are occupied,” Timurkhanov said at a meeting in Kazan’s city administration.
This is why the Office of Civil Protection is also conducting evening raids to the city’s beaches from 18.00 to 22.00.
Number of fires grows, number of victims reduces
851 fires were registered in Kazan by 28 June. And the number of fires is also growing probably because of the hot weather — by 8,3% compared to last year’s same period. The number of solid waste fires increased the most, it almost doubled, Timurkhanov said.
However, 15 people died in the fire — 16,7% fewer than in 2020. 30 people were injured, which is lower by 23%.
Timurkhanov also said that fire alarms were not installed in all houses of socially disadvantaged families and disabled people — they need about 500,000 rubles for this.
Fight with mosquitoes
Another peculiarity of the hot summer is an abundance of insects. Kazan citizens are complaining about a plague of mosquitoes. They talked about this during Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin’s last Instagram Live too. “The mayor is now responsible for mosquitoes in the street too,” he was surprised. “We also grew up with mosquitoes. It is summer! It is the season! We hope it will become better after it starts raining, at the moment this is what we have.”
Nevertheless, the topic of mosquitoes was discussed at the meeting too. Head of the Administrative and Technical Inspection Office Nail Minvaleyev explained how they were fighting with insects in the city.
As Minvaleyev said, the number of mosquitoes, indeed, rose with the hot weather. Measures to get rid of mosquitoes are taken in water bodies every year, in the places that are approved by the Tatarstan office of the Russian consumer rights protection watchdog. This year, 105 water bodies on an area of 299 ha, including Kazanka, Volga, Kaban Lake banks, have been treated. While there is no treatment for adult mosquitoes on the territory of the city, Minvaleyev added. Treatment is done where there are outbreaks of infectious diseases, like malaria or West Nile fever. Such diseases haven’t been registered in Kazan at least in the last four years.
Forests, parks and squares — a total of 283 ha — are treated for ticks. There was additional treatment before Sabantuy. 1,386 ha of urban parks, gardens and squares were treated for rodents in winter and spring. Another 928 ha is going to be treated in autumn.
“During the previous years, the number of rodents in such places as Gorky-Ometyevo Forest, Dubrava Park and the green zone on Dubravnaya Street was many times above the average. The treatment that was done allowed decreasing the number of rodents to the average.”