Closed captioning of: Wildfires ravage Russia
now to the hundreds of wildfires, many burning out of control in russia. fuelling a dangerous thick smog in
during a relentless
is evacuating much of its embassy staff and urging americans to postpone travel to russia. as jim maceda now reports, the
is trying to battle the fires, and the perception that it's not doing enough to put them out.
it was a
he couldn't resist.
criticized for being too slow to respond to the disaster below was seen on
today co piloting a firefighting plane, scooping up and dumping 24 tons of water on his target. did we hit it, he asks? yes, a precise hit, the reply. despite putin's and thousands of firefighters' efforts, the wildfires rage on. already causing some $15 billion in damage, according to one russian daily. only now after weeks of devastation is the human toll beginning to emerge. in
alone, shrouded in smog and smoke, deaths according to a top health official here have doubled compared to last year, up to about 700 a day.
's morgues are reportedly filled with bodies, and ambulances are making thousands more trips to the hospital. strokes and asthma attacks are up by 50%.
have increased by 30%, said this doctor. the government blames
and the hottest summer ever recorded for what could be thousands of deaths. this is no secret, look, it's 100 degrees in the street, he says. these people have come to catch their breath in one of only dozens of specially
centers in a city of 11 million blame the
. we're shocks at the deaths and we're angry, but we can't do anything about it, says this russian. with virtually no opposition, the
doesn't seem too concerned about the plilt faolitical fallout from the wildfires as long as putin is seen as hands on and the man in charge. jim maceda, nbc news,