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Moscow Heat, Smog Claim Many Lives

Posted by feww on August 9, 2010

About 350 people are dying in Moscow each day from heat, peat and forest wildfire complications

Death rates in Moscow rose by up to 50% in July, compared with 2009, Moscow’s health chief Andrei Seltsovsky said.

“On normal days, between 360 and 380 die – now it’s around 700,” he said.

The official death toll from fire-related incidents stands at 52, as wildfires consume thousands of rural homes.

A Moscow doctor wrote on his Internet site anonymously that he was “wary of diagnosing patients with eat and smoke-related illnesses for fear of dismissal,” a report said, “the bodies of those who had died from heatstroke and smoke ailments over the last few days were piling up in the basement, as the ‘fridges are full,’ leaving a ‘rotting stench,'” adding that the situation was similar at hospitals throughout the Russian capital.

“(But) we can’t give that diagnosis — we don’t want to be sacked. We have families to feed,” he said on his site here; comments that were were carried by several Russian media outlets on Sunday.

A harmful blanket of smoke that has choked Moscow for nearly two weeks is said to contain more than twice the ‘acceptable’ amount of carbon monoxide.

On Sunday, the temperature rose to 34.7 degrees Celsius (94.5 F)  breaking Moscow’s record for the sixth time this month.

No figures have yet been released concerning the increase in mortality rates in other parts of central Russia, where persistent droughts and wildfires have devastated the region since late June.

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