Killer freeze hits Europe

Below zero: Snow falls on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue. Turkey was paralysed by the blizzard, and elsewhere in Europe the freezing temperatures proved deadly. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

FREEZING weather has killed dozens of people in central and eastern Europe over the past few days.

And temperatures are set to drop even further, authorities warned yesterday.

In Poland, police said 10 died over the weekend as temperatures plunged to -27C, raising the death toll from exposure to 46 since the start of the winter, which had been unusually mild up to now.

Ukraine’s health ministry said 18 people have died of hypothermia in the last four days. Most of them were homeless who froze to death in the streets or old people who died in their flats or after hospitalisation.

Nearly 500 people sought medical help for frostbite and hypothermia in just three days last week, the emergency situations ministry said. Authorities have opened 1500 shelters to provide food and heat, as temperatures plunge to 30 degrees below zero Celsius in some regions of the country.

Police also reported that at least three people died of exposure over the weekend in the Baltic state of Lithuania. A 91-year-old woman and a 78-year-old man were among the victims.

A Palestinian migrant froze to death trying to cross the river Evros between Greece and Turkey and two more were missing, one of them a nine-year-old girl, local police said yesterday.

The Palestinian, whose age was not disclosed, was part of a group of 15 Asians and Africans trapped by rising waters on the river, a key crossing point into Europe for scores of thousands of migrants annually.

Another nine migrants were rescued from the Evros on Sunday after their rubber dinghy allegedly overturned but a nine-year-old Afghan girl and her 55-year-old grandfather were still missing, a local police source said.

Temperatures in the area fall to around -20C after nightfall.

In the Czech Republic, a 26-year-old man was found frozen to death in a field near the eastern town of Opava on Saturday.

Forecasters have warned temperatures are likely to plunge to -30C in the country this week, after hitting -20C in some places on Sunday.

In Bulgaria, five died in snow storms last week, local media reported yesterday as a Siberian cold front hit the Balkan country with temperatures dropping to -24C in some places. Most were elderly people who lost their way and were left stranded out in the cold.

The towns of Chirpan in the south and Sevlievo in the centre recorded the lowest temperatures early yesterday, at -24C and -23.4C respectively, the national weather service said.

It forecast that the mercury would drop even further in the next few days.

Four more people died over the past 24 hours in Romania, the health ministry said, raising the overall death toll to six.

In Serbia, three died of hypothermia over the weekend, the Tanjug news agency said yesterday.

In the Valjevo region, 80km south-west of Belgrade, a 49-year-old woman was found dead by workers clearing snow on a road and a 52-year-old man died close to his home in the village of Bobovo.

An 81-year-old woman was found dead in her own home in the village of Taor, Tanjug said.

Heavy snowfalls, that seriously disrupted road traffic and power supplies, ceased yesterday but the country was still experiencing a fierce cold snap as temperatures fell to -20C overnight in central Serbia.

Heavy snowfall blanketed Turkey’s commercial hub Istanbul, a city of 15 million, yesterday, paralysing daily life and disrupting air and land transport.

Officials said almost 200 flights were cancelled due to the snow expected to continue until late today, while hundreds of people were stuck in private vehicles or public transport.

Turkey is facing a severe winter and temperatures in the capital Ankara are expected to fall as low as -15C in the next couple of days.

via Killer freeze hits Europe | The Courier-Mail.

One Reply to “Killer freeze hits Europe”

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