Russia is counting the cost of its battle against its worst heatwave which has killed dozens in wildfires and doubled the death rate in its smog choked capital.
With grain crops destroyed along with numerous villages raised to the ground the extreme weather could cut around 11 billion euros off the country’s GDP this year.
As a result President Dimitry Medvedev has called on Russia’s business elite – the oligarchs – to help contribute to a much needed reconstruction programme.
“All the villages are poor and made from old wood and obviously only had basic facilities for everyday life. I’ve asked myself how can we agree on ways to make things better after all that’s happened,” reflected President Medvedev.
But 50 days of soaring temperatures look like coming to an end with weather forecasters warning of storms headed for Moscow.
St Petersburg, Russia’s second city, has already been hit by lashing rain and winds of up to 70 kilometres per hour. Power lines have been brought down and roads blocked by fallen trees.
Within the next 48 hours it looks as if Russia’s summer of 2010 drought will at last be broken.