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Record heat in Russia; prisoners allowed to get in fans

world Updated: Jul 29, 2010 17:35 IST

With mercury breaking all records in Russia, prisons in the country have allowed inmates to get in electric fans to beat the heat and jail authorities have been asked to ensure proper ventilation in cells.

The temperatures have soared in Russia this summer, nearing the 40-degree Celsius mark and July becoming the hottest month on record in Moscow.

"The relatives have been allowed to pass on electric fans to jail inmates and the authorities are carrying out a set of measures, including constant monitoring of temperature and ventilation in the prison cells," the spokesman of Moscow Prisons Department Sergei Tsigankov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

Daylight temperatures have broken 11 records, and the abnormal heat wave, with 37-39 degrees Celsius, is expected to continue in the foreseeable future, weather office said.

The nearby peat bogs fires have added suffocating smoke to the unbearable heat conditions in the Russian capital.

An absolute temperature record of 37.2 degrees Celsius was registered in Moscow on Monday, and since then every day it is broken several times a day, spokesman for the local meteorological bureau reported.

Due to almost two months of arid and hot summer, Russia is facing the worst drought since 1972.

Speaking on Rossiya 24 channel, environmentalists suggest that the heat wave may be not only a symptom of global warming, but of a climate change as in the winter Moscow and most of Russia had weathered chilling cold below minus 30 degree Celsius.

Russia's Chief Sanitary Doctor Gennady Onishchenko has advised Muscovites to install air-conditioners in their apartments as the country could face more such abnormal hot summers.

Observers here recall that after the scorching heat of 1972, the ruling Soviet Communist Party had decided to build a plant for the production of air-conditioners in Azeri capital Baku, then part of the ex-USSR, which became operational within two years in 1974.