Tens of thousands of animals burned alive in raging wildfires in TransBaikal region

24 April 2019

Published by http://siberiantimes.com/

RUSSIA – The cost of the recent fires has been revealed as Vladimir Putin today visited TransBaikal to assess the damage en route to a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Vladivostok.

Some 11,800 livestock – including at least 1,277 cattle plus 489 horses – were destroyed, many of them roasted alive or killed after suffering terrible burns, according to various reports.

Around 10,000 sheep are feared to have been lost.

Some 120 pigs and 1,800 farm birds were burned in the wildfires.

An outbreak of fires in the parched territory close to the borders of Mongolia and China was devastating.

Wildfires are an annual hazard for Siberia but the carnage in this region has ruined the farms and smallholdings of many locals whose livelihoods depend on animals.

At least 100 residential properties were burned down in fires in some 15 settlements, according to local reports.

Dozens of other buildings were razed. Reports said that 645 people were left homeless. They have been given temporary accommodation.

Initially the people are receiving an initial payment of 10,000 roubles – with more to follow for those who suffered property losses.

People have been promised newly built houses by 1 September.

The Siberian Times here shows pictures and videos from the carnage from the remote region where a state of emergency was declared before the weekend.

The fires were fuelled by strong winds.

In Ust-Imalka village, more than half of the 66 residential buildings were destroyed by the fires.

Around a dozen fires were being extinguished in the region and the toll emerged in villages hit at the weekend.

The Investigative Committee has opened criminal cases into ‘negligence’ leading to the fires and losses.

‘Thirty four people were injured in wildfires – and eight of them, including four in a grave condition, were hospitalised,’ reported the Investigative Committee.

‘Investigators have established that the fire destroyed two grain storage sites, 320 tonnes of bulk feed, and at least 22 agricultural vehicles.’

Districts hit by the fires were Aginsky, Duldurginsky, Zaibaikalsky, Baleisky, Borzinsky, Alexandrovo-Zavodskoy, Ononsky, Priargunsky, Olovyanninsky, and Akshinsky.

‘The losses incurred from the fires are preliminary estimated at more than 280 million rubles, said the statement.

‘Forensic investigators of the Investigative Committee have been tasked with assisting investigative authorities in the fire-stricken areas.

‘Forensic investigators and other specialists will visit the fire scenes and examine them using forensic equipment.

‘Local residents, self-government members, officers of district administrations, and officials of agencies providing civilian security will be questioned.’

A regional government source was cited by TASS on the cause of the fires.

’In two cases, the wildfires truly came from China and Mongolia,’ said the report.

‘The causes of two more fires were burning landfills.

‘Two fires started because of breaks in power lines and the subsequent short circuits.

‘In one settlement, residents threw smouldering ash from the furnace (igniting a fire).

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