NEWS ARCHIVE: March 2002

March 12, 2002 «Zvyazda» (The Star) Newspaper, #47 Tornado above the Pushcha

On the 27th of February about at 4.30 pm a strong hurricane caught on the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Museum chronicles don't remember an accident of such scale and destructive force. A few occurrences of forest collapses keep in the human memory: in 1980 trees were breaking under weight of wet snow, in 1984 — because of squally wind. But it's impossible to compare those events to this tornado. For many people, who live here, work or are going to visit the National Park, large clearing in the southern part of Pushcha will be remembered for a long time of three minutes of crazy element. Forest, which they are going to plant in place of destroyed one, will grow not quickly. The age of trees that became sacrifices of wind was one, two, even three hundred years.

Famous Pushcha has lost 180 hectares of ancient forest only for three minutes. The belt 4.5 kilometres long and 300–400 metres wide resembles the place of fall of meteorite. Fortunately there weren't human losses. Vladimer Shevchuk, driver of timber truck, has survived by a miracle, he stopped his car literally beyond 10 metres of wind flow. Frightened to death driver, 58 years old, had hardly sheltered under trailer when enormous trees had begun to fall before the timber truck. Only in twenty-four hours the car was freed from the captivity. Of the farm constructions solely the Masherov's house — celebrity of Pushcha — has suffered partly and a kilometre of power line.

Nikolai Bambiza, general director of the National Park, said that liquidation of consequences of the element and regeneration of area by means of planting of forest cultures will cost almost a billion roubles, but scarcely it's worth counting on the financial help. There are plans to clear felled and broken trees up and to begin new planting by own forces for a year. The gathering of cones for seeds has already been conducted and still been conducted, so that the new forest will be continuation of previous one. As far as expediency of efforts for processing of annihilated forest the head noticed: «The junk, which the tornado created, can cause fast spreading of spruce bark beetle. We must not allow it to happen. Now in the Pushcha we spend too many efforts to pest control. If there were not this problem probably we would approach the liquidation of consequences of element differently.»

Squall didn't go round the relic of the Pushcha — tsar-oak, too, tore two big branches off from its crown. But the 700 years-old giant as a whole didn't submit to the element. However pulled with roots century spruces, ashes trees, young oaks up lie close to it. Belarus tsar-pine has survived as well.

It will be known later if the tornado inflicted loss on animal population of the Pushcha, if red deer, bisons, elks, roe deer found themselves under trees. As a rule animals are able to have a premonition of danger and quickly leave dangerous places. It would have been good if this had happened at that time.

Pushcha always lived with mysteries, which nobody will guess from end to end and never. Soon guides will have a new Pushcha legend about February tornado in the most famous forest of Europe.

Anatoliy KLESHCHUK
March 14, 2002 «Gazeta Slonimskaya» (Slonim Newspaper) Newspaper, #249 Grodno residents will go to BP.

Representatives of Grodno Region will take part in the Forum of civic organizations of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha's region, which will go in April in Bialowieza (Poland). The working meeting that took place on the 9th of March in Grodno was dedicated to this event. Victor Fenchuk from Brest, coordinator of the project, told of the concept of international project «Pushcha without borders», which the Forum would go within. Participants of the meeting representatives of Grodno nongovernmental organizations, educational establishments, journalists shared their vision of situation around Belovezhskaya Pushcha, suggested ways of preservation of cultural, historic and natural heritage of the region. We remind that the project «Pushcha without borders» is implemented by nongovernmental organizations «Belarus Bird's Life» (from Belarus side) and PTOP (from Poland side) jointly. The aim of project is to support of activity on both sides of Belarus-Polish border for sustainable development of BP region.