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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Red Cross to Aid Russia's North Lands

GENEVA -- The International Red Cross launched an appeal Monday to help people in the far northeast of Russia.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is planning to spend 7.1 million Swiss francs ($5 million) to provide food, clothing, medical and cleaning supplies to 80,000 people in the areas of Kamchatka, Magadan and Chukotka, along Russia's northern Pacific coast.

"The poverty in this isolated region is appalling,'' said Borje Sjokvist, head of the federation's Moscow delegation.

"Salaries and pensions have not been paid, shops have nothing to sell, hospitals have run out of medicine. Alcoholism and depression are taking their toll along with killer diseases such as tuberculosis.''

These problems plague much of Russia, especially after its economy nosedived last autumn and the country saw its worst harvest in 40 years. In response, the Red Cross has been feeding Russians this winter in several regions.