Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 48

10:25, 04 August 2010

Russia`s Prosecutor...

The death toll from wildfires raging across central Russia has now risen to 48, the country`s emergencies ministry said on Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

"The bodies of eight people were found under the debris of burnt houses - three in the Moscow Region, two in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and one apiece in the Voronezh, Ryazan and Ivanovo regions," the statement said.

Russia`s Prosecutor General`s Office has already filed a lawsuit on negligence charges against local officials in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, where at least 21 people have died and 1,400 have been left homeless.

"The local authorities...did not take any preventive measures," a statement on the Prosecutor General`s website said on Wednesday.

On July 30, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who visited the region to assess the situation at the scene, severely criticized local administrations for their poor handling of the fires and said local government chiefs who had failed to cope with the deadly wildfires must resign.

Many residents in the Nizhny Novgorod region complained to Putin that the actions taken by local authorities were chaotic and uncoordinated.

Putin has ordered a total of 5 billion rubles ($165 million) to be disbursed from the federal budget to the central Russian areas affected by the wildfires.

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