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Harsh weather kills five in Bulgaria
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 05 - 01 - 2008


A massive blizzard and harsh winter
weather have claimed at least five lives and kept Bulgaria paralyzed
under a blanket of ice, local media reported Saturday, according to dpa.
A state of emergency remained in effect in eight municipalities in
the hardest-hit northern part of the Balkan country, as the cold and
wind prevented normalization of traffic and power supply.
Temperatures plummeted to as low as minus 32 degrees celsius, in
Zevlyevo in central Bulgaria. In Sofia it was 17 below zero.
Apart from the five weather-related deaths, one woman was still
missing in central Bulgaria.
A 30-hour blizzard in the middle of the week had deposited drifts
of snow up to three metres high. Gale-force winds have since
continued piling new drifts as soon as road-clearing crews remove
them.
The storm also kept the airport in Varna, on the Black Sea coast,
closed.
A group of 70 tourists, among them 20 children, locked in by snow
since January 1 was finally rescued from a chalet in the Balkan
mountains when military machinery reached them.
It was as cold north across the border, in Romania, but the
blizzard and the cold crisis was apparently better managed there than
in Bulgaria, where the authorities came under fire over their
handling of the situation.
The traditionally coldest spot in Romania, Miercurea Ciuc in the
central Carpathian mountains, recorded minus 27 degrees - frosty, but
still well off the all-time low of 38.4 degrees below zero.
Snowdrifts nevertheless on Saturday kept some sections of the road
network closed, including a part of the Bucharest-Black Sea highway.


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