Victor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s President, Anatoly Matviyenko, Deputy Chief-of-Staff, Victor Baloha, Emergency Minister, Pavlo Ihnatenko, Environmental Minister, Volodymyr Shandra, Industrial Minister, Victor Bondar, Transport Minister, and Vasyl Stashuk, Head of the State Water Economy Committee, took part in a meeting on the implementation of the Tysa Anti-Flood Program, according to the President’s press-office.

The participants discussed ways to prevent spring floods in Zakarpatya oblast in 2006. They also decided to establish an office that will coordinate the interaction of ministries and agencies involved in the program.

The Head of State said it was incumbent on the government to protect the town of Chop and surrounding villages against floods. He added that they should carry out the program systematically and conceptually: “A systematic approach to the problem is more rational than urgent actions.”

Mr. Yushchenko cited striking statistical data according to which Ukraine had lost UAH 7.1 bln during floods over the past eight years, while the government spent only fifty million hryvnyas on preventive measures.

The President said Ukraine was not the only country trying to deal with aftermaths of Carpathian floods, for “about ten programs, funded by the EU, USA, Denmark and Switzerland, are being carried out at the moment.”

“Today, the European community understands the significance of preventing floods in the Carpathian region,” he said, adding that Europe is particularly interested in making meteorological forecasts more precise while Ukraine has to build dams, reservoirs and other anti-flood facilities.

Mr. Yushchenko said the anti-flood money was spent inefficiently and could be used more rationally.

When speaking about the anti-flood program, the President said in 2006 the government was going to much better fund it and urged the local authorities to responsibly spend these funds. He also called on Zakarpatya residents to actively participate in the program.

“Your attention will accelerate the implementation of the program. Sitting in Kyiv or Uzhgorod, you can’t remotely achieve results," he said.