Death toll from Europe cold snap nears 300

The grim winter toll rose in Ukraine, Poland, Italy and France, where two homeless people found frozen to death were the latest victims.

Last Updated: Feb 05, 2012, 22:10 PM IST

The grim winter toll rose in Ukraine, Poland, Italy and
France, where two homeless people found frozen to death were
the latest victims,

In Italy, which reported a seventh victim, snow-covered
Rome was virtually paralysed, thousands of people were trapped
on trains, and the weather emergency sparked runs on
supermarkets.

"I couldn`t get hold of any food at the supermarket,
people are stocking up like they did with bread in 1943," Rome
resident Salvatore Merlo said on Twitter. "Rome has the
infrastructure of a third world country."

In worst-hit Ukraine, another nine deaths raised the toll
to 131 -- most of them homeless people who perished on the
streets -- since the deep freeze started nine days ago, said
the emergencies ministry.

Some 1,800 people had now been hospitalised, and 75,000
people had sought warmth and food in over 3,000 shelters.
In Poland, the cold claimed eight new victims, bringing
the toll to 53.

In Serbia, which has recorded nine deaths, states of
emergency have been declared in 32 municipalities, mostly in
the south and southwest.

Almost 70,000 people remained cut off in snowed-in
villages, with police and military units providing basic
necessities, said Predrag Maric, the police official in charge
of Serbia`s emergency services.

In Romania, six new deaths have brought the toll to 34.
In Finland, overnight temperatures plummeted to minus 40
degrees Celsius (minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit), but did not
deter many Helsinki voters from turning out to vote in a
presidential election.

PTI