Two embassies evacuate families from smoke-blanketed Moscow: report

12:58, August 07, 2010      

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The Canadian and Polish embassies have started evacuating nonessential personnel and family members from Moscow as thick smoke smothers the city, Moscow's Business Special Report Russia magazine said on Friday.

Embassies have been partly spurred into action as fires are now breaking out in the Bryansk region that was affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which threatens to lift radioactive material into the air.

On Friday, Russia's Surgeon General has advised those who can to leave the city.

Neither embassy answered calls nor confirmed the reports, the magazine said.

According to some reports, the air quality now is so bad that walking outside without a mask is the equivalent of smoking two packets of cigarettes a day.

"Air quality has been deteriorating, conditions unfavorable for atmospheric dispersion," the Moscow Nature Utilization and Environmental Protection Department told Interfax.

Situation could get worse after fires broke out in Bryansk, some 350 km southwest of Moscow on the Ukrainian border, which bore the brunt of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

Sergei Shoigu, head of the Emergency Ministry, warned in a press conference Friday that if fires spread in the region, they could lift radioactive contamination that exists in the soil into the air and contaminate other regions.

The international community has come to Russia's aid and fire- fighters from six countries are now battling the blazes.

Scorching temperatures are expected to reach 40 degree Celsius in the upcoming weekend in central and southern Russia.

Source: Xinhua


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