Friday 15 December 2017

Big freeze's lethal toll across Europe

Rafal Kalicki and Mohammed Abbas

TWELVE people froze to death in Poland overnight and air, rail and road traffic across Northern Europe remained badly disrupted by snow and ice yesterday.

Every winter in Poland dozens of people die in the snow, mostly homeless or drunk. The latest figure from the Interior Ministry brought the total killed in the past three days to 30.

In Germany, a record-breaking cold snap and heavy snow this week was expected to hit growth, the second time low temperatures have affected growth this year.

"A lot of construction projects have been halted, a lot of business trips have been postponed and freight transport has become quite difficult," Volker Treier, chief economist of the chamber of industry and commerce (DIHK) said.

In Britain, train passengers have been stuck on freezing trains, schools in some areas have closed, cars have crashed on icy roads and traffic has inched along snow-clogged motorways.

The disruptions have prompted widespread criticism of the country's ability to handle bad weather, and the transport minister has ordered a review of how the system has responded.

The icy weather is estimated to have cost the economy some £1.2bn a day, with commuters struggling to get to work and the pre-Christmas trading period hit by delivery delays.

Snow has caused travel chaos across much of northern Europe and Eurostar said it would be operating a reduced timetable until tomorrow, with delays of up to 90 minutes. It advised people to postpone all but essential travel.

Britain's Gatwick airport reopened after being closed for three days, but a spokeswoman said severe delays and cancellations were expected.

Irish Independent

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