Hundreds Of Homes Razed As Deadly Fires Hit Russia

by
staphni
Forest fires sweeping across European Russia on Friday killed at least 25 people and forced the evacuation of thousands in the hottest weather since records began 130 years ago. Fanned by strong winds, fires ripped through woods and fields that have been scorched for weeks by a heatwave, incinerating hundreds of wooden houses. "We don't know where to go," said Galina Shibanova, 52, standing outside her burning home in the town of Maslovka in the Voronezh region, about 500 km (300 miles) south of Moscow. "We called the emergency services, and not one person answered the phone," said Shibanova, a gold crucifix around her neck reflecting the nearby flames. Health Minister Tatyana Golikova said that 439 people had been injured in Voronezh alone and 43 were in a serious condition in hospital. Russia has been sweltering since June in a heatwave that has destroyed crops and pushed thousands of farmers to the verge of bankruptcy. Drought in some regions of Russia, one of the world's biggest wheat exporters, has sent global prices soaring to year highs, putting U.S. wheat futures on track for their biggest monthly gain since 1973.