Russia’s deadly cold snap claims lives

A deadly cold spell has gripped Russia, where at least 123 people have died of exposure and frostbite.

In far eastern Siberia, the freezing temperatures sank as low as -55 degrees Celsius.

3,000 people had to evacuate when an accident at the local heat station caused heat and water pipelines to burst, according to Sydney Morning Herald. They were forced to flee to shelters hospitals and schools to avoid being stranded in the cold.

Experts say that the cold snap is Russia’s longest in decades. The cold weather has crippled the country’s infrastructure, according to Russia Today.  There is not even water available and residents have to melt snow to get water. Subfreezing weather and heavy snowfall have stopped flights and congested traffic. Clearing the snow is  proving a challenge even for heavy machinery with snow covering as high as five metres in some areas.

This is in sharp contrast to earlier this year when Russia was crippled by one of the worst droughts that sparked a food crisis fear internationally.  This time, the freakish cold weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Extreme cold forces Russians to evacuateThousands living in Russia's Far East and Siberia have to leave their homes when old pipelines burst in heavy snow and cold weather. Lindsey Parietti reports.

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