Thousands struggling cold, snow as it claims more lives
SARAJEVO / BERLINHelicopters ferried food and medicine to iced-in villagers Feb. 8 as Europe’s 12-day-old cold snap tightened its frigid grip on the continent, where more than 400 have died as a result.
Eastern countries such as Poland and Ukraine account for more than half of the death toll, and dozens more have succumbed to the weather’s secondary effects, such as asphyxiation due to shoddy heating. A cold weather spell has killed 29 people in Algeria as snowstorms, hail and heavy rain had swept the north and east of the country. Germany has been forced to call upon its reserves for producing electricity for the second time this winter as Europe is gripped by a severe cold snap, officials said yesterday. The country’s four main power operators requested the reserve generator at a coal-powered plant in southern Germany and two plants in Austria be activated, the regional environment ministry in Baden-Wuerttemberg said.
The Hungarian Central Bank, meanwhile, said it literally had money to burn to help the country’s homeless. The bank has been pulping wads of its retired forint banknotes and turning them into briquettes. Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics and religious organizations to show solidarity and generosity to victims of the cold.