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Russia's brutal early winter claims 123 lives

Published on Dec 26, 2012 6:01 AM

MOSCOW (AFP) - A bitter cold spell in Russia has claimed 123 lives in the past 10 days, an official said on Tuesday, with the unseasonably early freeze testing authorities in a country used to notoriously tough winters.

Temperatures have plunged to up to minus 30 deg C in the Moscow region and up to minus 60 deg C in Eastern Siberia.

"Since the start of the cold, 123 people have died of exposure and frostbite," a medical source was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

In the past 24 hours, 201 people had to be hospitalised to be treated for hypothermia and frostbite, including 14 children, the source added.

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