February 5, 2018 / 3:22 PM / 6 months ago

Russia calls in army after "snowfall of the century" in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian soldiers have been drafted in to help clear the streets of Moscow and the surrounding region after a record snowfall which delayed flights, felled hundreds of trees, and turned some roads and pavements into an obstacle course.

More than a month’s worth of snow fell on Moscow within just 36 hours at the weekend as the temperature hovered below zero degrees Celsius, the biggest snowfall in the Russian capital since meteorological records began.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, calling the event “the snowfall of the century”, said one person had been killed when a tree brought down electricity lines, one of over 2,000 trees toppled under the sheer weight of the snow.

At least five other people were injured in separate incidents, Sobyanin said.

The Russian military said in a statement it had sent 100 soldiers, two snowploughs and a truck to help clear the snow in one Moscow district and at a location in the Moscow region.

Children in Moscow were given the day off school on Monday when the temperature stood at minus 12 degrees Celsius. The authorities encouraged people to leave their cars at home and use public transport instead.

“I have just left home but have already fallen over because the snow has not been cleared from the pavements,” said Lilya Belkina, a Moscow resident.

“It is very difficult to cross the road.”

Slideshow (7 Images)

Reporting by Andrew Osborn, Gennady Novik and Valery Stepchenkov; Editing by Alison Williams

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