June 24, 2019

Russian Wildfires and Heatwave double Moscow death rate

how the Kremlin looks at the height of the tourist season. Nice shot of the van though.

Moscow’s health chief Andrei Seltsovsky has confirmed the mortality rate in the capital has doubled as a heatwave and wildfire smog continue to grip the city.

“There were twice the usual number of bodies in the city’s morgues” he told reporters, and that “deaths had almost doubled to 700 daily, with heat being the main killer”.

This is backed up by statements from workers at the City morgue’s which are overflowing. Also the crematoriums are working around the clock. Citizens are also giving accounts of waiting hours for ambulances to arrive to assist with dead and dying relatives.

The Health Ministry showing that the secrecy of the old Soviet era is still alive in some quarters, criticised Seltsovsky, saying it was “bewildered by these unofficial figures” and that Moscow’s death rates had actually fallen in January-June.

What cannot be denied though is this is the hottest summer in 130 years since records began. The head of the state weather service, Alexander Frolov, went further and said that the heatwave of 2010 was the worst in 1,000 years of recorded Russian history.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said this year’s grain harvest was forcast to be 5 million tonnes down on last year due to the fires and drought. At least they have been creaming it with oil exports in the last few years so should be able to cover the revenue shortfall.

The Emergencies Ministry report that as of Monday, 557 wildfires continued to burn in Russia, 25 of them peat fires. While 239 fires were extinguished on Sunday, 247 new ones were discovered. Perhaps if they stop looking for new ones the stats will improve. Don’t tell the Health Ministry they will think it is a great idea.