Forest fires in Russia have killed 29 people and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has visited one of the worst-hit areas to comfort angry residents.

People belonging to a village in the central Nizhny Novgorod region, where all 341 houses burnt down, confronted Mr Putin as he visited the area on Friday, many wiping tears from their eyes, television reports showed.

''We aren't asking for anything out of this world. We are just asking for a guarantee that we will be able to live here by winter,'' a woman said in footage shown on state-run Channel One television.

''By winter, all the houses will be standing. I promise you that your village will be restored,'' the Prime Minister said, adding that compensation of 50,000 roubles ($1830) per household for loss of possessions would be increased to 200,000 roubles per resident. He then leant forward and embraced the woman.

On Friday morning, Mr Putin flew into the village of Verkhnyaya Vereya where more than 500 residents were left homeless by a fire.

Mr Putin allocated 5 billion roubles to rebuild houses and said he will personally control the process, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, informed Russian news agencies. President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Defence Ministry to aid put out the forest fires, his spokeswoman said on Friday.

The heat wave has forced the government to proclaim emergencies in 23 regions, with 10 million hectares of farming land devastated by drought.


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