Cold snap blamed for five deaths in France

28th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

CALAIS, France, Nov 27 (AFP) - Police in the French port city of Calais reported that a 58-year-old homeless man was found dead Saturday in a garage where he had taken shelter, and an unidentified man, believed to be from eastern Europe, was found dead in a forest near Melun, outside Paris, by a Sunday hiker, bringing to five the number of weather-related deaths in France.

CALAIS, France, Nov 27 (AFP) - Police in the French port city of Calais reported that a 58-year-old homeless man was found dead Saturday in a garage where he had taken shelter, and an unidentified man, believed to be from eastern Europe, was found dead in a forest near Melun, outside Paris, by a Sunday hiker, bringing to five the number of weather-related deaths in France.

In the western French region of Vendée where some 17,000 households lost power this weekend, about 1,400 homes were still without electricity early Sunday, the French utility EDF said.

The wave of cold and snow over the past few days hit every region of France, even normally mild southern provinces such as Provence, the country's weather service said.

Snow was reported from the Pyrenees in the south of France, where mountain passes were shut, to Normandy in the north, where the giant bridge across the Seine estuary was closed.

A level 2 state of emergency was declared in 44 French regions, meaning that they must offer more shelter beds for the homeless, step up patrols by social workers and open places of refuge for those who refuse to go into shelters.

As for Paris, "you'd have to go back to 1993 to find snow on the ground" in November, said Patrick Galois, a French weather forecaster.

While temperatures over the weekend did not set a new seasonal record, they were a sharp drop from the mild temperatures at the end of October, Galois said.

In Paris, temperatures went from 24 degrees Celsius on October 30-31 to below zero this weekend.

Saturday's snowfall hampered transportation in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The two airports in Paris -- Charles de Gaulle and Orly -- reported a return to normal operations by late Saturday after flights had been delayed during the day. Some 60 flights were cancelled Saturday out of Charles de Gaulle airport, none out of Orly.

The Meteorological Office warned Britain could be facing the coldest winter in living memory, the Times newspaper reported.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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