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Thursday, December 18, 1997 Published at 07:41 GMT



World

Moscow gripped by freeze
image: [ Bitter cold has brought Moscow to a standstill ]
Bitter cold has brought Moscow to a standstill

Up to 19 people have died either from exposure or from fires lit to ward off the cold, as Moscow freezes up.

Night-time temperatures have dipped to -30C, the coldest recorded since 1882. And forecasters say the worst is yet to come.


[ image: The homeless have been hit the hardest]
The homeless have been hit the hardest
The freeze has come from central Russia, say weather experts.

The Moscow River has completely frozen, pipes have burst all over the city and one apartment building has cracked open.

Thousands of people live on Moscow's icy streets and dozens die each year.

BBC correspondent Robert Parsons says charities are doing what they can but they face an uphill battle.


[ image: Pipes are bursting all over the city]
Pipes are bursting all over the city
The Russian government is not taking special measures because it says nobody needs to live on the streets.

Firefighters have been tackling a series of fires as people struggle to keep warm.

But it has been so cold that water in their hoses has frozen.


 





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