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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid