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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora