Siberia wildfire toll rises to 34, 77 in hospital: minister
Raging wildfires in Siberia in recent weeks killed 34 people, the emergencies minister said Tuesday in a new toll as President Vladimir Putin visited the stricken region.
“To date, 34 people have died in southern Siberia,” Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told Putin in a meeting to address the disaster. Another 77 were hospitalized, some with serious burns.
The minister blamed farmers for setting dry grass alight, with weather conditions causing the fire to spread across several mas- sive areas in recent weeks.
The fires have destroyed about 2,000 homes, Putin said, as he announced financial assistance for those affected, pledging their houses would be rebuilt by September.
He also warned would be meted out.
“We have to see who was in charge of what and what they have to be held responsible for,” Putin told a group of residents who had lost their homes.
“If someone is guilty of something, they must answer for it.”