Siberian chill death toll rises to five in Germany

24th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 January 2006, BERLIN - Five people have been reported dead in Germany owing to the cold wave sweeping across Europe, officials said Tuesday.

24 January 2006

BERLIN - Five people have been reported dead in Germany owing to the cold wave sweeping across Europe, officials said Tuesday.

The latest victim was a 63-year-old man who died in eastern Brandenburg state near Berlin, police said. Four other deaths had been reported since the weekend, mainly in the eastern part of the country.

Temperatures plunged to new lows on Monday night with the record again being set at Bavaria's Funtensee where minus 36.2 degrees Celsius was recorded.

In Potsdam outside of Berlin temperatures hit minus 17 degrees.

With canals and rivers frozen over, shipping has been halted on the Main-Danube Canal as well as parts of the Elbe River.

Dozens of people were reported by Tuesday to have died across Europe as the cold front, which originated in Siberia, spread across the region.

At least 35 people have perished over the last week in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In Estonia, nine people perished in house fires while at least seven froze to death, the Baltic News Service (BNS) reported.

In Latvia, at least ten people have frozen to death in the capital Riga since Saturday, while at least nine people shared their fate in neighbouring Lithuania over the same period, according to BNS.

Police and other public safety officials across the region have saved dozens of mostly homeless people from the cold, moving them to shelters. Alcohol was cited as a factor in many of the deaths.

In the Balkans, the cold spell has claimed at least 15 lives in Romania over the past three days as well as its first casualty in Serbia.

The death toll in Romania climbed by 10 in 24 hours, as the temperature in the Carpathian highlands plunged to minus 30 degrees.

Local reports said that the victims were from the hardest-hit northern and eastern parts of the country, where problems with heating systems saw schools remained closed and patients sent home from hospital

In Bulgaria, the freeze led to blackouts in locations throughout the country with temperatures hitting lows of minus 22 degrees in the north, the civil defence said Tuesday.

The situation in Hungary, where two people have died in their homes from cold, appeared to stabilize Tuesday as public transport resumed service in the worst-hit north-eastern region, MTI news agency reported.

The first victim of the cold in Serbia, where temperatures hovered between minus 10 and 20 degrees Tuesday was a homeless man found frozen to death, the daily Blic reported.

In coastal parts of neighbouring Croatia, temperatures as low as minus 21 degrees were aggravated by winds of up to 180 kilometres, causing the sea to begin freezing over in some areas.

Further west in Poland, eleven people died from exposure over the last 24 hours, a spokesperson for Poland's National Police Headquarters confirmed Tuesday.

The deaths bring to 161 so far the number of cold-related fatalities in Poland since the beginning of the winter. Again, alcohol and homelessness were contributing factors in most cases, with lows of minus 32 degrees forcing the closure of hundreds of schools across the country.

Greeks were given a rare glimpse of snow on the Acropolis Tuesday, while temperatures as low as minus 12 and snow storms forced the closure of entire towns, schools, ports and roads.

Schools in most parts of the country were closed, power shortages were reported in parts of the north-west and ports across the country were closed.

The cold weather was expected to continue through Wednesday.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news, Europe news

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