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More Than 1,000 Drown During Russia Heat Wave

Jul 15, 2010 – 3:15 PM
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Hugh Collins

Hugh Collins Contributor

(July 15) – A combination of booze and scorching weather has led to more than 1,000 Russians drowning in recent months.

Russians are heading to lakes and rivers in droves to escape temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, CNN reported. Unfortunately, they usually do so with some beer or vodka in tow.

The results are darkly predictable.
Russian men swim in the Neva river in central St. Petersburg on July 6
Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP / Getty Images
More than 1,000 drownings in Russia have been attributed to people trying to cool off in searing temperatures by swimming after consuming alcohol. Here, Russian men take a dip in the Neva River in central St. Petersburg on July 6.

"The majority of those drowned were drunk," Vadim Seryogin of Russia's Emergencies Ministry said, according to CNN. "The children died because adults simply did not look after them."

At one summer camp, six schoolchildren drowned because the camp employees who were meant to be looking after them were drunk, the BBC said.

Alcohol is a way of life in Russia, with the average Russian consuming 18 liters (18 quarts) of booze a year. That's more than twice the level that the World Health Organization rates as safe. About 70 percent of the alcohol is consumed as hard liquor such as vodka.

The heat wave gripping Russia has led to the worst drought in more than 100 years. Huge areas of crops have been wiped out, and state doctors are advising the public to take an afternoon nap to avoid the hottest part of the day.

"It's a major calamity, the situation is extremely serious," Viktor Zubkov, the first deputy prime minister responsible for agriculture, said, according to the BBC.

In Moscow, officials are hosing down the streets to stop the asphalt from softening and causing traffic accidents.

Still, it seems as if authorities will have a tough time convincing Russians to leave the bottle at home.

"It's very, very common," Nadezdha Voronova, picnicking with her family by a Moscow pond, told ABC. "[First we] drink, then go swimming. After swimming, we go drinking. It's like a circle."
Filed under: World, Weird News, Health
Tagged: alcohol, russia
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