Nine bodies have been found in burnt-out houses in the southwest of Nizhny Novgorod Region following wildfires across central Russia, the Russian Emergencies Ministry reported Friday.
"During work to dismantle the structures of burnt-out houses in villages that suffered from forest fires in the Vyksa District, the bodies of nine people were discovered: four men, three women and two unidentified bodies," the department said.
The forest fire in the Vyksa District affected several villages, two of which burned down completely (340 houses). In another two villages, 83 of the 659 houses were destroyed.
Earlier on Friday, a police source reported that five people had died and 34 were injured in central Russia. The source said that over 900 homes had burned down in the past 24 hours.
Temperatures across much of western and central Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for the past five weeks, causing peat bog and forest fires and creating what is thought to be the worst drought since 1972.
The Emergencies Ministry has dispatched additional firefighting units and 16 aircraft and helicopters to fight wildfires in five regions of central Russia.
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 officials to prepare proposals for purchasing additional equipment for firefighting, including Be-200 aircraft.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday arrived in the wildfire ravaged region of Nizhny Novogorod to assess the situation.
More than 270 houses were destroyed in the Voronezh region and 505 houses burned down in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Dozens were hospitalized and many more received medical treatment.
Around 72 houses were destroyed in the Vladimir Region and 59 in the Moscow Region.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, July 30 (RIA Novosti)