30 killed in Russia wildfires

August 1st, 2010 - 10:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Raging wildfires in central Russia have claimed 30 lives and left more than 2,200 people homeless, the government said Sunday.
The wildfires, which have caused damage worth over 4.6 billion rubles ($150 million), have destroyed a total of 1,875 homes in 14 regions of the country, with the largest destruction observed in the Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh and Ryazan regions, the ministry for regional development said.

As many as 771 wildfires were registered in the European part of Russia as of early Sunday, including peat bog fires, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who visited the fire-damaged Vyksa district in Nizhny Novgorod Friday, severely criticised local administrations for their poor handling of the fire crisis and said local government chiefs who had failed to cope with the deadly wildfires must resign.

President Dmitry Medvedev called for the immediate construction of housing for those left homeless by the fires.

Temperatures across much of western and central Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius in the past five weeks, causing peat bog and forest fires and creating what is thought to be the worst drought in the country since 1972.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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