Winter chill: A man braves freezing temperatures in Spain, as the death toll from Europe's cold snap continued to rise, 3 February 2012. Picture: AP

By Sahit Muja, NY Economy and Politics Examiner
11 February 2012

Europe’s record freezing temperatures have claimed hundreds of lives, snarled traffic and trapped hundreds of thousand of residents in remote villages .

At least seven people died and three others were missing after an avalanche hit the village in Kosovo.

There are reports of weather-related deaths in Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Poland, Italy,  Ukraine, Turkey, Bullgaria, Austria, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Bosnia, France, Hungary and Lithuania.

Albania has recorded year-low temperatures that dropped to -30 Celsius in the Tropoje and Kukes region with more than 12 feet of snow in some areas.

East European countries have huge problems with drinking water, food, and electricity as residents there battle the deep snow and cold.

The weather has spelled a disaster in Europe, with the death toll of more than 600.

The freezing weather is everywhere in Europe and may last until the end of the month, according to meteorologists.

That’s not good news for those living in remote areas.

It also means a massive energy bill for consumers and governments alike as people try to keep warm.

The temperatures have plummeted in some parts of Europe to  -40 degrees Celsius.

Europe: Record snow and freezing have killed 600 people

Roel Bouman took this shot in Amsterdam, Holland on Thursday, 9 February 2012. He says the freezing temperatures and strong winds make it feel like -13C. BBC

12 February 2012 (AFP) – Snow drifts reaching up to rooftops kept tens of thousands of villagers prisoners in their own homes Saturday as the death toll from Europe's big freeze rose past 550.

More heavy snow fell on the Balkans and in Italy, while the Danube river, already closed to shipping for hundreds of kilometres (miles) because of thick ice, froze over in Bulgaria for the first time in 27 years, reports AFP.

Montenegro's capital of Podgorica was brought to a standstill by snow 50 centimetres (20 inches) deep, a 50-year record, closing the city's airport and halting rail services to Serbia because of an avalanche.

Eight more people were reported to have died in Romania, taking the toll for the country to 65, three in Serbia, one in the Czech Republic and one in Austria.

Polish fire brigade spokesman, Pawel Fratcak said Saturday that defective heating had triggered a spate of deadly blazes in houses and apartments, with eight people killed on Friday night and three the night before. […]

At Carligul Mic firemen and volunteers helped people dig tunnels and trenches in the snow reaching to the house roofs in some places.

"I've never seen as much snow in my whole life," resident Aneta Dumitrache, 78, told an AFP photographer.

Authorities said an estimated 30,000 people were still cut off in Romania, and more than 110,000 in the Balkan countries, including 60,000 in Montenegro, nearly 10 percent of the population.

Belgrade has taken steps to limit electricity consumption in the face of threatened shortages, calling on companies to reduce their activities to a minimum. […]

Snow Blocks in Tens of Thousands as Cold Death Toll Rises



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