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    Warming climate doubles natural calamities in Russia - minister

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    The number of natural calamities in Russia more than doubled over the last 10 years as a result of global warming, the Russian minister of emergency situations said Thursday.

    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - The number of natural calamities in Russia more than doubled over the last 10 years as a result of global warming, the Russian minister of emergency situations said Thursday.

    "All that is happening is the consequence of the continuously warming climate," Sergei Shoigu said. "Over the last 10 years as a result of such warming the number of natural calamities in our country more than doubled, rising from 150 to 350."

    The minister said the situation in Russia's northern regions was the most alarming because permafrost was melting.

    "Over the last 30 years the average depth of melting in the permafrost zone increased by 20 centimeters and keeps progressing. If the melting continues, the foundations of homes, communication lines and gas pipelines could begin sinking," the minister said.

    Shoigu also said that a very serious situation with glaciers remain in the North Caucasus, saying that the tragic 2002 situation in the Karmadon Gorge in North Ossetia could be repeated.

    The Kolka glacier collapsed September 20, 2002 in the Republic of North Ossetia, burying 116 people under tons of rock, mud and ice, including a film crew led by one of the country's most popular actors and directors, Sergei Bodrov Jr.

    Shoigu said that the ministry was taking all necessary measures to prevent a repetition of such catastrophes.

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