Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

European cold-snap death toll now more than 100

With record snowfalls, icy winds, and thousands of people trapped in remote villages, much of Central and Eastern Europe is in the grip of a cold snap that has caused more than 100 deaths.

Temperatures in parts of Ukraine and other Eastern European countries are hovering around -30C.

The Adriatic islands of Croatia have had a rare dusting of snow, while in Romania, parts of the Black Sea have frozen over. Several towns in Bulgaria have recorded their lowest temperatures since records began.

At least 11,000 people were trapped in mountain villages in Serbia yesterday as ice and snow made roads impassable.

"The situation is dramatic. The snow is up to five metres high in some areas. You can only see rooftops," said Milorad Dramacanin, a member of a helicopter evacuation team.

In neighbouring Bosnia, supplies were flown to isolated villages, where locals were forced to dig paths that resemble tunnels, and said they had little hope of proper access to the outside world until spring. Some villages have been without electricity for days.

The worst-hit country is Ukraine, where dozens of homeless people have died. Authorities said yesterday that 63 people had died in the past few days, with 41 dying on the streets, eight in hospitals and 14 at home. There have also been deaths in Poland, Bulgaria and Romania.

In many parts of Russia, extreme winter temperatures are normal, and life in cities is continuing more or less as usual, albeit with rather more grumbling.

In Siberia, temperatures were even lower, with some regions dipping as low as -50C. (© Independent News Service)

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