Foreign aid arrives in Russia as battle against blaze continues | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.08.2010
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Foreign aid arrives in Russia as battle against blaze continues

International aid began trickling into Russia on Monday as the country continues efforts to contain widespread forest and peat bog fires. Authorities said fires that threatened a nuclear site were under control.

Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral is seen through the heavy smog covering Moscow

Moscow is being choked by smoke

European nations have begun sending aid to Moscow in the fight against forest and peat bog fires that are blazing across the country.

Around 100 Bulgarian specialist firefighters are supporting their Russian colleagues, and France has dispatched 120 firefighting personnel and a plane to drop water on the wildfires.

Some 100,000 respirator masks from Germany are set to arrive in Moscow later in the day. The Russian capital has been choked by poisonous smoke from peat bog fires ringing the city.

Top health officials in Moscow announced that the daily death rate in the city has nearly doubled amid the record heat wave, with about 700 people succumbing each day the extreme weather persists.

In southern and eastern parts of the city visibility was down to below 50 meters (54.6 yards). Meteorologists said an improvement in the situation wasn't expected until Wednesday at the earliest.

Flights grounded

The worst smog in living memory has grounded flights at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, stranding around 2,000 passengers.

Fires were still raging over an area of around 200,000 hectares (494, 211 acres) as Russia continues to suffer from a heat wave that has already killed 52 people.

Authorities also said Monday that a fire threatening a nuclear research facility in the town of Snezhinsk, near the city of Yekaterinburg at the foothills of the Ural mountains, has been brought under control.

Author: Darren Mara (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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