4.27 PM Wednesday, 21 February 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:31 06:45 12:35 15:51 18:20 19:34
21 February 2024

43 people have died of cold in Ukraine


Europe shivered in some of the coldest temperatures seen in decades on Wednesday as the freeze claimed more lives overnight and countries battled to clear roads and railways.

At least another eight people froze to death overnight in eastern and central Europe, bringing the toll to more than 60 in the region since the cold snap began last week.

Italy meanwhile struggled to clear its motorways and railways of snow and France tried to fix power cuts on its Mediterranean coast.

In Ukraine, officials said that 43 people had died of hypothermia over the past six days.

Most of them were homeless people who froze to death on the streets, but seven had died in their homes and more than 800 had sought medical help for frostbite and hypothermia.

Officials said they had opened 1,735 shelters to provide food and heat and were planning 122 more, as temperatures plunge to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions.

Poland said 20 people had now perished since temperatures plummeted last Friday after another five people were found dead overnight.

Temperatures had plunged to minus 30 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country, they said. The victims were four men aged 29 to 61 and an 83-year-old woman, police said.

Most of the victims had been homeless, or individuals who got drunk and fell asleep outdoors, they said.

Poland's Labour and Social Affairs Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz urged fellow citizens not to walk by if they saw people in need.

"Cold doesn't kill people. Indifference kills people," he said in a statement.

Two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by flawed heating systems, officials reported. They were among 27 people treated in the past 24 hours there for the problem.

In Slovakia, two people died as temperatures plunged to minus 24 Celsius, the daily newspaper SME reported.

And in the neighbouring Czech Republic a 47-year-old homeless man was found frozen to death in the eastern city of Karvina, where the mercury has dropped to minus 29 Celsius (minus 20 Fahrenheit).

Overall figures for the region were difficult to collate because not every country kept track of winter deaths from exposure.

Snow blanketed Italy on what is forecast to be the coldest week in 27 years, forcing the closure of tracts of motorway and disrupting traffic in the northern cities of Bologna and Milan.

Heavy goods lorries were banned from the roads in the central regions of Marche, Tuscany and Umbria until further notice and schools were shut in several areas, while a major hospital in Turin was also closed.

Train services have been reduced and there were delays on the rail network.

The snow led to the cancellation of several top football matches on Tuesday including Juventus-Parma.
Organisers were hoping that a face-off between Inter and Palermo at Milan's San Siro stadium on Wednesday could still go ahead.

Officials in the Baltic state of Estonia said they kept no details of weather-related deaths.

But the country has already recorded minus 29 Celsius and forecasters warned it would drop to minus 32 Celsius in the coming days.

"Since last Friday, Tallinn's homeless shelters have been open 24 hours a day and nobody will be left on the street," social work director in the capital Tallinn Kersti Poldemaa told AFP.