Wednesday 25 April 2018

Death toll hits 600 as Europe struggles to fight big freeze

Ian Hunter in Prague

MORE than 600 people have now died during a record-breaking cold snap in Eastern Europe.

Since the end of January the region has been in a deep freeze, which has brought the heaviest blizzards in recent memory.

Tens of thousands have been trapped in their homes and villages by walls of snow and impassable roads, and officials have struggled to airlift food to the vulnerable.

After a massive pile-up in a blizzard, about 100 damaged cars blocked a major road in the Czech Republic connecting the capital, Prague, with the eastern part of the country and Slovakia.

Russia said 205 people have died this year in the cold, while Ukraine has had 112 cold fatalities and Poland had 107. Seven people have died in Romania in the past 24 hours, bringing the total there to 86 deaths.

Deaths were also reported in Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia.

In hard-hit Romania, 23,000 people remain isolated in 225 eastern communities where more than a week of heavy snow has blocked roads and wreaked havoc on the rail network. Residents were worried that their houses would collapse under the heavy snow as rescuers attempted to bring them food, water, medicine and wood.

A five-month-old girl with severe pneumonia was taken to a hospital early yesterday by sled and an army vehicle after authorities struggled for six hours to reach her.

Irish Independent

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