00:24 GMT +321 February 2018
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    Wildfires in central Russia leave at least 5 dead, 34 injured, over 900 homes destroyed

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    At least five people have died, 34 injured and over 900 homes have burned down in three central Russian regions in the last 24 hours, a police source said on Friday.

    At least five people have died, 34 injured and over 900 homes have burned down in three central Russian regions in the last 24 hours, a police source said on Friday.

    More than 270 houses were destroyed in the Voronezh region and 505 houses burned down in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

    "Five people, including a fire fighter, were killed, 21 people were hospitalized and over 100 received ambulatory treatment in the Voronezh region," an Emergencies Ministry spokesperson said earlier in the day.

    "Over 2,500 people were evacuated," the source said.

    The ministry has not received reports of human casualties from the Nizhny Novgorod region, but at least 1,662 residents have been evacuated from the areas threatened by quickly spreading fires.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday arrived in the wildfire ravaged region of Nizhny Novogorod to assess the situation.

    The source added 72 houses were destroyed in the Vladimir Region and an additional 59 in the Moscow region.

    The ministry has dispatched additional firefighting units and 16 aircraft and helicopters to fight wildfires in five regions of central Russia. The Moscow Region has suffered from the worst drought in almost three decades and peat fires have broken out causing heavy smog in the capital.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the government to take urgent additional steps to fight the fires and to allocate funds for damage compensation. Medvedev has also instructed to prepare proposals to purchase additional equipment for firefighting, including Be-200 aircraft.

    Temperatures across much of western and central Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) during the past five weeks, causing peat bog and forest fires and creating what is thought to be the worst drought since 1972.

     

    MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti)

     

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