GALLERY

Ice is a lifeline for the world's coldest region

Innokenty Tobonov sinks his harpoon into a long block of ice while his helpers expertly push it out of freezing lake waters onto the snow-dusted surface before sliding it towards an idling tractor.

After an hour of cutting ice blocks out of the lake in temperatures of minus 41 degrees Celsius (minus 42 Fahrenheit), cold vapour has frosted his eyelashes.

But this is no excuse for a break as the group hurries to extract a winter's worth of frozen drinking water for an elderly neighbour. Yakutia, in northeastern Siberia, is Russia's largest region and experiences the planet's coldest temperatures.

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