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Moscow mortality doubles amid heat and smog

08-10-2010 08:40 BJT Special Report:Forest Fires Ravage Russia |

MOSCOW, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- As the mortality rate in Russia's capital has doubled with the record-breaking heat and toxic smoke smothering the city, a record number of more than 100,000 passengers has departed Moscow in one day, local media reported Monday.

A man, wearing a mask to protect himself from the smog, walks along a street in central Moscow August 9, 2010. Forest and peat fires caused by the hottest weather ever recorded in Moscow have killed at least 52 people, made more than 4,000 homeless, diverted many flights and forced Muscovites to wear surgical masks to filter out foul air. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
A man, wearing a mask to protect himself from the smog, walks along a street in central 
Moscow August 9, 2010. Forest and peat fires caused by the hottest weather ever recorded 
in Moscow have killed at least 52 people, made more than 4,000 homeless, diverted many 
flights and forced Muscovites to wear surgical masks to filter out foul air. 
(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
"In common days, some 360 to 380 people die daily. Now, the number of deaths has increased to about 700. The mortality rate has doubled," Andrei Seltsovsky, head of the city's Health Protection Department, was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

The abnormal high temperatures and smog, caused by peat bog fires, were blamed for the mortality rate rise. The smog pushed pollution levels to new highs on Saturday, threatening people's health.

Out of 1,500 places in the capital's morgues, 1,300 have been occupied, according to Seltsovsky. But he added that there were enough places in Moscow morgues.

The Novaya Gazeta paper cited an unnamed Moscow medic as saying that they were not to hospitalize people except for urgent cases.

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