Saturday 23 September 2017

Video: Hundreds dead across continent in cold snap

Aida Cerkez in Bosnia

Bosnia used helicopters yesterday to evacuate the sick and deliver food to thousands of people left stranded by its heaviest snowfall ever, while Pope Benedict XVI donned an overcoat to bless the few pilgrims who braved Rome's unusually cold weather to visit St Peter's Square.

"The snow is beautiful, but let's hope spring comes soon," the Pope told the pilgrims, looking out over remnants of Rome's biggest snowstorm since 1986.

Across Eastern Europe, thousands of people continued to dig out from heavy snow that has fallen during a cold snap that has killed hundreds.

In Ukraine, the hardest hit area, temperatures have fallen as low as -36C. The government said yesterday that the country's death toll now stands at 131. About 2,300 other Ukrainians have sought treatment for frostbite or hypothermia.

At the other end of Europe, Britain had its first widespread snowfall of the winter -- with flights cancelled and many drivers stranded overnight.

Emergency

In Bosnia, more than 100 remote villages have been cut off by two metres of snow in the mountains. More than a metre fell in Sarajevo, the capital, where a state of emergency has been declared.

In neighbouring Serbia, the government introduced emergency measures in the entire country yesterday to better help 70,000 people cut off by the snow.

In Montenegro, the north of the country remained cut off, although emergency crews have managed to clear some of the blocked roads. The situation also had improved somewhat in Croatia, where bus traffic toward the coast resumed.

In the coastal town of Split, where authorities declared emergency measures, dozens of people sought medical help for injuries.

Snow has also fallen on Spain's Balearic islands in the Mediterranean.

Irish Independent

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