The number of emergencies decreased 14.1%, the number of suffered decreased 16.4%, but the number of dead people increased 17.2% against the year 1997.
The majority of emergencies and suffered is related to transport, fires and explosions. The heads of state control agencies must pay much attention to the potential danger of transport and take some measures directed to the prevention and decrease of this type emergencies and its consequences.
The majority of man-caused emergencies took place in Donetzk (83), Lugansk (50), Odessa (48) regions, i.e.in industrial regions. The minority of such is on the behalf of Vinnitsa (9), Chernivsti (8), Ternopil (7) regions and in the city of Sevastopol (4). The distribution of man-caused emergencies coincides with the map of man-caused overload of the territory of Ukraine. However the Kharkiv region is an exception from this conclusion, because of the combination of high level of man-caused overload and relatively low number level of emergencies. The significant number of emergencies in some regions is conditioned by the presence of man-dangerous objects.
The number of emergencies at water/energy supply systems decreased from 140 to 90 as compared to 1997. The main reason of major emergencies is still the critical condition of the purifying, plumbing and sewerage systems of the cities. There were 19 emergencies registered in 1998 (45 in 1997). Most of them took place in Lviv Region (5) and the city of Sevastopol (4). Besides, 15 of them occurred at drinking water supply systems and 7 at heat supply systems (25 in 1997).
Twenty of 43 emergencies at the main pipelines (29 in 1997) happened because they were deliberately broken by criminals; one was caused by fire (5 in 1997). A considerable amount of such emergencies have been registered in Lviv Region (26). The majority of such emergencies led to relatively insignificant losses and did not have a great impact on the environment. There was no accident of the first category (3 in 1996). But the pipelines are still the most dangerous objects in the oil-gas industry. Thus the load of pipelines, which decreased 10 times during the last 7 years, affects the condition of the pipelines negatively due to intensive corrosion of the inner surfaces. Damage to oil and gas pipelines caused by criminals is still a great problem. The substantial oil losses badly pollutes the environment.
The main reasons of the pipeline accidents are worn-out pipes, and repairs not carried out as planned.
A considerable number of emergencies took place at installations of power supply systems – 108 (131 in 1997). Most of them were related to accidents at the power supply networks - 104 (118 in 1997), which led to mass energy supply cut-off for a long time in many localities. During the year 5,000 localities were not supplied with energy at all.
As a result of 24 emergencies related to the discharges (or threat to discharges) of heavy poisoning substances after the accidents (26 in 1997) 1 person died and 26 were injured (all because of chlorine poisoning). There were also 14 catastrophes in transport (10 rail, 4 automobile) and 10 at manufacturing plants, 7 of which were related to chlorine discharges and 4 to ammonia discharges.
As a result of 424 natural emergencies, 142 people died and 3,787 people were injured. The number of emergencies increased by 12.4%, the number of deaths increased by 10.9%, and the number of injured people increased considerably (67.7%).
The largest number of natural emergencies was recorded in the Crimea (47) and in Dnipropertovsk and Odesa regions (27), the smallest in the city of Sevostopol (1) and Kyiv (5) as well as in Volyn and Chernivtsi regions (10).
In terms of financial loss, the most significant emergencies were the floods in Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. 200 localities of 35 regions were flooded because of rising ground water levels. State and regional emergencies (21) must also be mentioned. Most of them took place in Lviv Region. Altogether 900 localities were flooded during the year. As a result of occurrences of this nature, the total sum of losses was UAH 500 million.
During the year 3,915 forest fires (2,309 in 1997, increase by 69.5%) destroyed 4,418 hectares of forests (1,464 hectares in 1997, increased by a factor of 3). Total financial losses were UAH 4.56 million (615,000 in 1997, increased by a factor of 7.4). The fires were connected to the weather conditions this year. The largest fires were in the Crimea and in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson regions. Emergency departments registered 75 emergencies of forest fires (31 in 1997). The majority of them took place in the Crimea (28) and in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions (7).
The situation with landslides and other dangerous geological phenomena is still a considerable problem. Unfavourable weather conditions in 1996 substantially activated processes of landslides, mountain torrents, rock falls, etc. Twenty-seven (15 in 1997) of 31 geological emergencies (21 in 1997) were landslides. The above data proves that the territory of Ukraine has a very complicated geo-ecological situation and a constant risk of developing a variety of geological processes, especially landslides.
Landslides are most widely spread in Zakarpattia Region, the southern coast of the Crimea, the coast of Odesa Region, the right bank of the Dnieper (Donbas), in Chernivtsi, Poltava, Lugansk and Lviv regions and in the cities of Kiyv and Sevastopol. Most cases were recorded in Zaporizhzhia and Chernigiv regions.
Poisoning constituted a large number of emergencies (91): the amount increased significantly against 1997 (64), and consequences were tragic with 104 deaths (96 in 1997) and 1,164 injuries (960 in 1997). Any domestic poisoning where the number of deaths is 3 or more, and the number of injuries is 5 or more, is an emergency.
Forty-eight emergencies involved toxic and other forms of poisoning (24 in 1997). Such emergencies claimed 19 lives (56 in 1997), and 180 people were injured (84 in 1997). Most were children. 30 children died and 119 were injured in 24 emergencies. The majority of emergencies were carbon monoxide poisoning – 17 (43 dead, 4 injured) and poisoning at manufacturing plants – 10 (14 died, 27 injured). 5 cases of poisoning which took place during work on sewerage systems (5 dead, 13 injured) should also be mentioned.
The steady increase of emergencies during the last years makes it urgently necessary to develop an effective system for prevention and prediction of emergencies, and for counteracting the consequences of natural and anthropogenic catastrophes.
The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 3 August 1998, No. 1198 "On the State System of Prevention and Reaction to Anthropogenic and Natural Emergencies" defines the principles of the system, the basic provisions of the subsystems, control agencies cooperation, and determines the functions of other central departments concerning prevention and reaction to emergencies.
The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of 15 July 1998, No. 1099 "On the Procedure of Emergency Classification" deals with emergency classification.
The system of state control of the ecological sphere needs to be improved, especially by the centralization of control of natural resources, the subsequent development of nature protection, and by legislation and organization of the proper physical protection of anthropogenic installations.
The ecological crisis was addressed at the meeting of the National Defense and Safety Council of Ukraine on 26 November 1998. According to the examined materials the Council made a decision "On the Neutralization and Prevention of the Threat Caused by Ecological and Anthropogenic Situations in Ukraine". The Council's decision became the basis for the special Decree of the President of Ukraine issued on 31 January 1998, (No. 1420/98) and aimed at the improvement of the state environmental safety system and activities to monitor, forecast and prevent the development of emergency situations of natural and anthropogenic origin, as well as overcoming the negative consequences of such situation.