Death toll from European cold spell hits 58

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 00:42

Kiev: Thirty people, most of them homeless,
have died of hypothermia in recent days in Ukraine, part of a
surge of deaths across eastern Europe as the region grapples
with an unusually severe cold spell.

In all, at least 58 people have died from the cold in
Europe over the last week.

Of the victims in Ukraine, 21 were found frozen on the
streets, five died in hospitals and four died in their own
homes, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia
Yershova.

Over 540 others have been hospitalized with hypothermia
and frostbite, health officials said. Heavy snowfalls and icy
roads also caused traffic jams in southern Ukraine.

Temperatures plunged to minus 23 C (minus 10 F) in the
capital of Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine, as schools and
nurseries closed down and authorities set up hundreds of
heated tents with hot tea and sandwiches for the homeless.

Kiev municipal head Oleksandr Popov ordered city schools
and colleges closed beginning Wednesday as temperatures are
expected to drop to minus 28 C (minus 18 F).

"They will be on a break at least until Monday," Popov
said on his website.

In Poland, five people died of hypothermia in the last 24
hours, bringing the death toll from the cold to 15 in the last
four days, the national police said.

Temperatures sank today to minus 27 C (minus 17 F) in the
southeastern Polish city of Ustrzyki Gorne — and forecasts
predicted minus 29 C (minus 20 F) in the region overnight.

In Romania, two people died in the past 24 hours due to the
frigid weather, the health ministry said Tuesday, bringing the
total to eight since cold spell began. Temperatures plunged to
minus 20 C (minus 4 F) overnight in Bucharest.

In Russia, one person died of the cold in Moscow, where
temperatures fell to minus 21 C (minus 6 F), the city`s health
department said. The Russian Emergencies Ministry is not
reporting deaths across the country yet.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 00:42

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