Storm rips through Moscow streets, many killed | News | DW | 29.05.2017
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Storm rips through Moscow streets, many killed

A deadly thunderstorm has damaged homes and toppled hundreds of trees in and around Moscow, while also disrupting air traffic at nearby airports. Officials described the event as "unprecedented" for the Russian capital.

At least 11 people in Moscow and five others in the suburbs were killed when the storm hit the area on Monday. Around 100 more were injured, according to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.

"It's due to the fact that the storm hit in the middle of the day, which is why there is such a large number of victims," Sobyanin said.

The wind speed reached 22 meters (yards) per second at its peak, meteorologists said. Russian news agency RIA Novosti tweeted a video showing the scope of destruction.

Most of the fatalities were caused by falling trees and structures carried by the wind, including a metal fence and a bus stop. The mayor said the storm was "unprecedented," claiming more lives than any other in over a hundred years since Moscow officials started tracking weather in the Russian capital.

Russland Orkan in Moskau mit mehreren Tote (REUTERS/A. Panchenko)

The violent gusts of wind uprooted several hundreds of trees in the city

Authorities deployed 35,000 emergency workers to clear out debris in the city of 12 million people.

In Moscow Oblast, outside the city limits, officials reported that the wind damaged the roofs of at least 65 multi-storey apartment blocks.

Flights at Moscow airports were delayed and the express train service to Vnukovo airport was halted as workers removed a tree from the line.

Sudden windstorms are not unusual in Moscow, although events like this one remain rare. Before the Monday tragedy, the worst storm in the history of the city hit Moscow in 1998, killing nine people and injuring 165.

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