Deep freeze claims 14 more across Europe
10 Jan 2017 - 23:03
Belgrade/Sarajevo/ Warsaw: At least eight people have died as subzero cold and heavy snow enveloped the Balkans, with tens of thousands stranded in remote regions or left without heating in temperatures that dipped as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Six people died in Poland over a 24-hour period as temperatures plunged across Europe, bringing the toll of hypothermia deaths in the country to 71 since November 1, authorities said yesterday.
Central and east-southeastern Europe have been gripped by a deep freeze and snowstorms for days with temperatures dropping below -30 Celsius.
In the Balkans, a father and son died from frigid cold in Serbia, state RTS TV reported yesterday. A man fell into a well and survived 52 hours in extreme cold before being found by neighbours, local officials said.
Thousands of people were trapped in outlying central and southern regions of Serbia by heavy snow. A state of emergency was declared in 11 municipalities. Serbian authorities also halted navigation along the Danube river after it iced up along some stretches.
In Bosnia, three people in remote parts of country froze to death while nearly 50,000 in the town of Zenica lost their home heating due to a malfunction in a boiler at the ArcelorMittal steel mill, which provides thermal power to households.
Three men in their 50s froze to death in Albania, and municipal authorities took several hundred homeless people to heated shelters.
In Warsaw, police urged people to aid those most vulnerable to hypothermia, especially the homeless, as the mercury sank to below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in some regions.
“Another six people died due to exposure over last 24 hours,” centre for national security said yesterday, adding “the number of hypothermia victims has reached 71,” since November 1.
Authorities have also issued smog alerts across Poland urging children and elderly to remain indoors as coal and waste-fired home furnaces drove up air pollution to the highest levels recorded in years.
The last winter in Poland was unusually mild but claimed 77 lives compared to 78 in 2013-2014 and 177 in 2012-2013.
Heavy snowstorms also reached Turkey over the weekend.