President Vladimir Putin has ordered regional authorities to resettle the surviving residents of an apartment building hit by an explosion in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk late last month.
Thirty-nine people were killed in the partial collapse of a Soviet-era apartment block on Dec. 31. Following reports of plans to divide the damaged building in two and let the survivors move back in, 208,500 participants signed a petition calling on regional authorities to resettle the residents elsewhere.
“The house needs to be resettled,” Interfax quoted Putin as telling Chelyabinsk region governor Boris Dubrovsky at the first cabinet session of the year on Wednesday.
The znak.com news website estimates the resettlement will affect more than 1,000 residents of the ill-fated building.
Putin said more than 1.3 billion rubles ($19.5 million) will be allocated from the federal and regional budgets on the resettlement.
The president also said that major Magnitogorsk-based steelmaker MMK would be asked to contribute to the resettlement.
“I know they always respond to these [tragedies],” Putin was quoted as saying.