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Accidents In Siberia Leave Thousands Without Heat, Water

IRKUTSK, Russia -- Thousands of residents of the southeast Siberian city of Irkutsk have been left without heating and running water after a double accident, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Irkutsk city administration announced that 160 apartment blocks, 12 kindergartens, six secondary schools, and seven hospitals currently have no heating.

Valentina Voblikova, who chairs the Irkutsk city committee for social support and culture, told RFE/RL that the hospitals affected included the Ivano-Matryona children's hospital and city clinic No 3, which is for long-term patients.

She said the situation in those two clinics was under control and they had been supplied with alternative sources of heating.

Repair work to the heating and water supply system is under way.

Irkutsk Mayor Viktor Kondrashov held an emergency meeting with local authorities to discuss the possible evacuation of residents of the buildings affected.

The weather forecast predicts temperatures in Irkutsk may fall as low as minus 28 degrees Celsius tonight.

Read more in Russian here