High temperatures caused forest fires around Moscow, damaged farmland, and left 23 regions in a state of emergency.
A prolonged heatwave in Russia has killed hundreds of acres of crops, burnt forests and disrupted urban life in what is thought to be the country’s worst drought in decades, reports the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Temperatures have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) across western Russia for a few weeks straight, damaging 32 percent of land under cultivation and forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency in 23 regions.
Experts forecast that the heatwave might have a measurable impact on food prices in Russia, the world’s third-biggest wheat exporter. The Grain Producers’ Union said that grain prices might double as a result of the drought that gripped vast regions of European Russia in late June. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank’s head of research in Moscow said that by December the country’s inflation might rise above the government’s annual forecast of less than 6.5 percent.
The scorching heat also caused a number of fires around Russia’s capital Moscow, which, earlier this week, recorded the hottest day in its 130-year history of meteorological observations. As temperatures hit 37.4 degrees Celsius for the first time, peat and forest fires were blazing around Moscow, sending a blanket of thick smog above the city and forcing the region’s authorities to request millions of dollars in emergency measures.
The BBC reported last week that the heatwave has increased alcohol consumption in the capital, where more than 230 people have recently drowned after heavy drinking.
Meanwhile the Moscow Consumer Rights Protection Society filed a lawsuit against the capital’s subway system on charges that temperatures at underground stations and in passenger cars exceed sanitary standards.
Western Russia is not the only part of the country that is suffering from abnormally hot weather. The southern Urals and Siberia have recently baked in temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.