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   Russians worry heat wave deaths under reported

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8/9/2010 6:00 pm

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Entered 8/9/2010, Updated 8/9/2010

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Muscovites are dying from extreme heat and smoke faster than their bodies can be stored, cremated or buried, and Russians are worried the death toll could be far higher than the official count. Official data show at least 52 people have died in severe fires raging in parts of European Russia in the past few weeks. But there are no statistics referring to Moscow, amid some media reports that the city's paramedics are told not to include "heat stroke" in death records "to avoid panic." About 550 separate blazes were burning nationwide Monday, mainly across western Russia, including about 40 around Moscow, according to the Emergencies Ministry. Forest and peat bog fires have been triggered by the most intense heat wave in 130 years of record keeping. Alexander Frolov, head of Russia's weather service, said judging by historic documents, this heat wave could be the worst in up to 1,000 years.


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