More than 1,500 people have been employed to repair a heat supply station breakdown in Russia's Tuva region, officials said Tuesday.
The breakdown forced the evacuation of 3,000 people from the settlement of Khovu-Aksy, ITAR-Tass reported.
Investigators said the breakdown happened Dec. 20, due to defects in the station's steam boilers.
Heat and hot water was halted to 103 buildings in Khovu-Aksy, where more than 3,000 people, including about 1,500 children, live. Local authorities in Russia’s Tuva Republic are under investigation over this accident, the local investigative committee announced.
The local administration's head and deputy head are being investigated for “failing to perform, or failing to properly perform, official duties, where this causes major damage or substantial violation of citizens’ rights and legitimate interests,” a statement on the local investigative committee site read.
This news comes as emergency services in the area battle to get heat and power to the families affected. The temperature has stood at - 40 degrees Celsius for the past week.
The first outage at the power plant took place on December 20. This took two days to fix, and the following day another accident happened at the plant. This resulted in another outage, leaving 103 buildings without heat or water supplies. Over 3,000 people were affected; most had to be evacuated.
In late December an emergencies ministry plane delivered food and heaters to the affected areas. An investigation into the incident indicated that two boilers experienced “technical failure,” and the backup also failed.
A 1500-strong team has been working on-site to repair the heat and power plant, with some success: on Tuesday one of the boilers was brought back on line. Some residents have been able to return to their homes, although heating supplies have yet to be restored to 44 residential buildings.