January 09, 2024

A Freezing Winter


A Freezing Winter
Moskva River. Moscow, Russia. Vyacheslav Argenberg, Wikimedia Commons

A series of accidents at facilities in Moscow and surrounding areas have left thousands of Russians without heat. Meanwhile, temperatures outside have plummeted to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).

In Moscow, over 20 buildings were left without heat due to a fire. Meanwhile, in Moscow Oblast, an a heating pipeline accident in the Podolsk District left 173 building, housing approximately 21,000 persons, without heat. Burst pipes in entrances led to temperatures inside apartments as low as 13 to 15 degrees Celsius (55 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). According to Mash, at a Podolsk hospital patients had to be warmed with special heat guns.

Several other cities in the Moscow Oblast, including Khimki, Balashikha, Solnechnogorsk, Lyubertsy, and Elektrostal, also experienced heating failures due to utilities accidents.

Solnechnogorsk faced heating and electricity problems as early as October of last year. In the Vystrel District, many apartments recorded temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), leading to mold formation on walls. In December, residents made an appeal to President Vladimir Putin, with one resident saying via video message, "We will soon freeze from the cold like during the Siege of Leningrad."

Heating issues have occurred in other parts of Russia as well. In mid-December, residents of Samara, a major city on the Volga, reported freezing temperatures in some buildings. Similarly, residents of Omsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia, and Chita, the capital of the Zabaykalsky Krai, highlighted problems with heating and infrastructure. A particularly severe case occurred in December, in Khakassia, where temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit), coupled with heating and electricity problems, prompted the declaration of a state of emergency in several villages. Residents of the town of Kalinino sought refuge in the local airport building.

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