Death toll in Russia's wildfires rises to 50



Death toll in Russia`s wildfires rises to 50 Moscow: Russia has removed all the explosives and nuclear materials from the Federal Nuclear Centre in the Volga region to protect it from raging wildfires that have left 50 people dead.

"There is no threat of explosion or radioactive contamination, as all the explosive and nuclear materials have been evacuated," Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations, Gen Pavel Plat told state-run Rossiya 24 channel.

Gen Plat is supervising the fire-fighting efforts in the restricted town of Sarov in Nizhny Novgorod region, a former secret Soviet nuclear weapons production facility Arzamas-16, now transformed into Federal Nuclear Centre.

He said 1,500 army personnel had joined the interior troops and fire-fighters battling the wildfires and new fire-fighting robots El-4 and El-10 have been pressed into service and the fire has been repulsed from the buildings.

Meanwhile, the death toll has reached 50, Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) said today.

"A dead body was found as the houses burned down late last week were cleared in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and a patient died in a hospital in the Voronezh Region, bringing the toll to 50," ITAR-TASS reported.

Meanwhile, the EMERCOM has registered more than 350 new wildfires, Chief of Crisis Management Centre Gen Vladimir Stepanov told TV channels.

"Over the past day, 373 new fires emerged, and 254 were extinguished, thus there are still 589 fires in Russia which occupy 196,000 hectares," Stepanov said.

"141 settlements were under threat, but due to our efforts, not a single house was caught over the past day," he added.

Meanwhile, after breaking another temperature record yesterday the Muscovites today woke up to find morning skies all but free of the thick, toxic smog that had gripped the city for most of the previous 24 hours.

In Russia, where the main challenge is to keep your houses warm in the long winters, the vast majority have no air-conditioner and the Muscovites are finding hard to cope with temperatures here have reached 38 degrees Celsius.

A respite from heat is not expected before August 15, when the much desired atmospheric from Atlantic is expected to arrive with rains and cool weather.

PTI