Russian freeze death toll tops 70

The death toll in Russia's lethal deep freeze topped 70 Friday as Russians hunkered down for more bad weather and forecasters warned the cold snap would continue to spread through Europe.

Russian freeze death toll tops 70

In Moscow, a spokesman for the city health services said five people died overnight in the capital, where temperatures hit minus 30 C (minus 22 F) for a second day, with wind chill making it feel some 10 degrees lower.

The Interfax news agency earlier said that seven people had died -- five on the streets and two in hospitals.

The latest deaths brought to at least 71 the number of those perishing across Russia since the start of severe weather late Monday, including 16 in the capital.

Russian weather forecasts predicted the continuation of bitter cold well into next week, with the Siberian anti-cyclone spreading west into Europe, where the Baltic countries were already feeling the icy effects.

In the last 24 hours alone, some 22 people are reported to have been killed in western Russia, including five in Moscow. However, official reporting of deaths outside the capital has been sporadic and the figures are believed to be incomplete.

Eight of the reported fatalities, most of them homeless people, were in the northwest Russian region of Novgorod, where temperatures sank to minus 38 C (minus 36 F), the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

The freeze has also claimed nine more homeless people in the southern Volgograd region, authorities said, according to RIA-Novosti.

According to preliminary figures, more than 100 people required medical treatment for exposure and of those around 60 have been hospitalized, many of them suffering from frostbitten noses and ears because they were not properly protected.

Crowds and traffic thinned out on Moscow's usually teeming streets, ensuring a cold, lonely existence for the vendors in those convenience stores that were still open.

The Moscow city administration called on residents to insulate windows and doors in their apartments to prevent heat loss and save energy, media said.

Burst hot water pipes and heat-producing boilers were reported at a number of sites in Moscow and throughout Russia and public utilities crews were working to restore heat and hot water to affected residents.

Power blackouts were reported in 12 communities in the greater Moscow region, Interfax news agency said, adding that authorities had decided to extend a "strict" energy conservation regime at least through the weekend because of the persistent freeze.

In the northern city of Saint Petersburg, authorities said 41 power outages were reported.

The head of Russia's UES electricity monopoly, Anatoly Chubais, said energy consumption in the Moscow region broke a record on Thursday, climbing to 16,000 megawatts, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

He said measures were being taken, including power rationing to some facilities, to ensure that the electricity grid was able to meet challenges next week, when the cold was expected to continue.

Source: Tehrantimes

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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