Moscow mortality rises 50 percent amid heatwave: official

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The mortality rate in Moscow soared by 50 percent in July compared to the same period last year as Russia struggles with its severest heatwave in decades, a registry service official told AFP Friday.

"We recorded 14,340 deaths in Moscow in July, that is 4,824 deaths more than in July 2009," said Yevgenia Smirnova, an official from the Moscow registry office.

"The increase started in July, as opposed to June when the figures were largely good. The heatwave has certainly had an influence," she added.

Unconfirmed reports had spoken of a massive spike in deaths in Moscow over the last month but the authorities had so far denied that this was the case.

© 2010 AFP

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