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Over 600 dead from Eastern Europe cold

Posted: February 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm by Roz Potter in Climate Change

From The Guardian:  Link

Excerpts:

More than 600 people have died during a record-breaking cold snap in eastern Europe, authorities say, as officials in the Czech Republic blamed two massive car crashes on blinding snow.

Since the end of January, the region has been pummelled by the deep freeze, which has brought the heaviest blizzards in recent memory. Tens of thousands have been trapped in often-freezing homes and villages by walls of snow and unpassable roads, and officials have struggled to reach the vulnerable with emergency food airlifts.

Authorities in Russia and Ukraine alone reported on Wednesday that more than 300 people had died in the bitter cold.

About 100 damaged cars blocked a major highway in the Czech Republic connecting the capital, Prague, with the eastern part of the country and Slovakia. Seven people were injured in two separate accidents, authorities said, warning it could be hours before the mangled vehicles were cleared.

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In Romania, about 23,000 people remain isolated in 225 eastern communities where more than a week of heavy snow has blocked roads and wreaked havoc on the rail network. Residents were worried that their houses could collapse under the heavy snow as authorities struggled to bring them food, water, medicine and wood.

Romanian farmers – faced with up to five metres of snow in some areas this week – are concerned about their sheep, goats, horses and cows. One farmer said he had dug his pigs out of the snow and brought them into his home.

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