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Sub-zero temperatures strand thousands, kill more in Europe
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 11 - 02 - 2012


Freezing temperatures left thousands of people
stranded without power in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe on
Saturday, as the death toll from one of the coldest winters in years
continued to rise, according to dpa.
Blizzards hit the Western Balkans, while heavy snowfalls and
gale-force winds were expected to last until Monday. The storms
deposited a fresh layer of snow and created tall drifts, further
hampering access to many areas in the region. Several villages were
without stable electricity supply, as wind and snow knocked down
power lines.
In Serbia, the authorities reported three new deaths, raising the
overall death toll for the country to 19. An estimated 50,000 people
remain isolated in remote villages. The energy situation has become
critical, prompting the government to extend a two-day holiday next
week to five days, keep schools closed and cut the power supply to
non-essential factories.
In Croatia, an average of 50 centimetres of snow were expected to
fall during the weekend, while powerful winds blowing from the sea
forced local road authorities to close some sections of the Adriatic
highway.
Many villages in mountainous regions in Bosnia have been cut off
since the start of the cold spell, nearly two weeks ago.
Temperatures dropped to as low as -32 degrees Celsius in Poland's
southern Bieszczady Mountains, while eight people died in house
fires, police said.
A further eight people died in Romania, the Health Ministry said,
raising the overall death toll to 65. Tens of thousands of people
remained isolated in the south, where the army, police and
firefighters were trying to clear access routes and distribute food
and water.
Heavy snowfall also hit many parts of Italy - especially its
central and southern regions - where six recent deaths have been
linked to the cold weather. Several remote villages in the central
Marche and Umbria regions remained cut off as a result of unusually
high snow levels.
In north-eastern Trieste, at least 10 people were injured when
winds with speeds of more than 130 kilometres per hour lashed the
Adriatic port city.
The poor weather forced the cancellation of flights and Serie A
football matches.
In Northern Bulgaria, trains could not make their way through the
deep snow, which the wind has blown on the railways, state radio
reported.
The Bulgarian section of the Danube was completely frozen
Saturday, the national Agency for Maintenance of the Danube River
said. The Bulgarian Maritime Administration has banned all navigation
in the Bulgaria section, including ferries to Romania.


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