News / Europe

Report: Wildfires, Drought Costing Russia $15 Billion

TEXT SIZE - +

A Russian business newspaper says early estimates show wildfires, drought and Moscow's two-month-long heat wave will cost the Russian economy at least $15 billion.

Kommersant said Tuesday this is about 1 percent of Russia's gross domestic product.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has suspended grain exports until the end of the year to keep domestic food prices from skyrocketing.

A shift in wind direction blew some of the choking, poisonous smog from peat bog fires away from Moscow Tuesday, but authorities say the situation is still dangerous.  Weather forecasters say the smog may continue to recede on Wednesday but warned that temperatures will continue to hit 34 degrees Celsius through the end of the week.

The United States has issued a travel warning for Russia because of the fires and pollution in Moscow.  It also has started evacuating non-emergency workers and their families from the U.S. embassy.

Many Russian residents whose lives have been turned upside down because of the fires are blaming what they call government mismanagement and neglect of the forests for the disaster.

Prime Minister Putin, in an effort to show Russians that he is involved in firefighting efforts, flew on a firefighting plane Tuesday and released tons of water on two of the hundreds of wildfires still burning.

Mr. Putin also said the government will spend $10 million to irrigate the drained peat bogs outside Moscow.  Many of the abandoned bogs are on fire and are the source of much of the smoke enveloping Moscow.  

The official death toll from the Russian wildfires is at 52.  But Moscow health chief Andrei Seltsovsky said Monday the city's daily mortality rate has jumped from 350 to around 700.  

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the loss of life saddens him.  He says the U.N. is committed to helping Russia in any way it can.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

More photos by VOA Russian service's Sergei Moskalev in Moscow

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid