A bitter cold spell in Russia has claimed 123 lives in the past 10 days, an official said Tuesday, with the unseasonably early freeze testing authorities in a country used to notoriously tough winters.
Temperatures have plunged to up to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 34 degrees Farenheit) in the Moscow region and up to minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 51 degrees Farenheit) in Eastern Siberia.
“Since the start of the cold, 123 people have died of exposure and frostbite,” a medical source was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
In the past 24 hours, 201 people had to be hospitalised to be treated for hypothermia and frostbite, including 14 children, the source added.
Since the start of the cold snap, 1,745 people were affected, and over 800 had to be hospitalised, the source said.
State television reports Tuesday focused on a village in Tyva, one of Russia’s poorest regions in southern Siberia, where temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius were coupled with an accident at the local heat station which left some 3,000 residents stranded in the cold.