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4 Sep, 2010 04:34

Wildfires return to Russia, but not for long

The last forest fire in the Volgograd region was put out, Itar Tass reported, quoting the local department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

Eight people died and 28 were injured during the fires in the region, the Emergencies Ministry reported. Twenty residential areas caught on fire, 531 buildings burned down, including 419 residential houses. Up to 1,000 people remain homeless; bedding facilities and food service have been organized for them.

The Volgograd region administration promised to provide lodging to the victims until December 1, and allocated 900 million rubles for this purpose.

While raging wildfires have left yet another trail of destruction in Southern Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to punish those responsible for the negligence that has caused them.

“We need to deal with this, it is gross negligence,” he pointed. “It seemed that what happened in August should have taught local authorities.”

“We need to draw conclusions from what happened and, if needed, bring to account or even sack those responsible for the fires,” Medvedev added.

While the heat may have subsided dramatically in central Russia, not to mention the fact that it has been raining in Moscow for the past two days, temperatures still remain abnormally high in the regions along the Volga River which caused fresh outbreaks of wildfires.

As the Russian Investigative Commitee of the Prosecutor General's Office stated, worst affected is the Volgograd region. The flames were also strong in the Saratov and Samara regions.

This time the fresh fires were caused by strong winds that brought down some power lines and the subsequent electric sparks ignited dry grass.

The Emergency Ministry dispatched three firefighter planes to deal with the situation. It has been barely a week since the state of emergency in Russia has been lifted.

Now the state of emergency has been reinstated in the wildfire suffering regions.

Meeting with Russia’s Emergency Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the following:

“I have signed an order to immediately allocate financial aid to Volgograd and Saratov regions in the amount of one billion roubles as compensation for the lost property, for the construction of infrastructure, and new homes.”

Over the last two months Russia was gripped by wildfires: 50 people died, entire villages were burnt to the ground, and 2,500 houses were completely destroyed, leaving thousands homeless.

Houses are now being urgently rebuilt for those left homeless, who are struggling to cope with the aftermath of the blazes before the winter comes.