News / Europe

Muscovites Flee Capital to Escape Fumes and Smoke of Wildfires

Multimedia

Audio

Some 500 fires continue to blaze across Russia.  The flames have created toxic fumes in the capital of Moscow. Several embassies, including those belonging to the United States and Canada, have evacuated all non-emergency personnel due to the many health risks from the smog, heat and toxic fumes.

Aviation officials say hundreds of thousands of people have left Moscow in the last several days due to the acrid smoke and smog that has enveloped the region.

American Charlotte Turner is one of them. Standing at Domodedova airport, she says she cannot wait to escape.

"It's like walking through a campfire," said Turner.  "Everywhere's just smoky. It's been terrible. It's been hard to breathe, really terrible. [You] can't even see one hundred yards. It's like smoking a pack of cigarettes for four hours."

The chief of Moscow's health department said earlier this week that around 700 people are dying each day in the city - more than twice the usual number. The high death rate has been attributed to heatstroke and conditions exacerbated by the dangerous chemicals in the air. The authorities have urged people to wear facemasks and advised pregnant women to evacuate the city.

Speaking on Russia's state run English language channel, Dr. Vasily Vlasov, president of the Society for Evidence-Based Medicine, agrees that Muscovites have been in danger.

"The smoke which has come to Moscow has increased the carbon monoxide concentration in the air by several times," said Dr. Vlasov.  "The smog is surely very toxic and poisonous to breathe. We've registered a death increase in comparison with the usual summertime."

That news has Lena Ivanova, who lives in the Moscow region, afraid for her and her family's health.

Ivanova says it is dangerous here, like a war. She adds that the fumes are making the animals and everyone sick, and that they are going to leave.

Hundreds of fires are still raging across Russia, affecting nearly all aspects of life and threatening to undercut Russia's economic growth. Some economists believe that the heat wave, fires and drought could cause up to $15 billion in damage.

There has also been mounting anger over the government's response to the disaster. On Tuesday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took to the air in a water bombing jet to help douse fires in one region. But some analysts say his actions failed to convince many Russians that the authorities have a handle on the situation. Further complicating matters, Emergency Ministry officials say they cannot get many of the blazes under control.

Meanwhile, aid from the United States has arrived in Russia. This morning, U.S. Air Force planes touched down at Vnukovo airport, carrying water tanks, pumps, hand tools and medical kits, among other things.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid