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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Homeless people and migrants most at risk as freezing conditions cause at least 65 deaths in Europe

The Greek government sent a navy transport ship to the island of Lesbos yesterday to house around 500 migrants still sleeping in tents.

Image: AP

THE DEATH TOLL from the cold snap hitting parts of Europe has risen to at least 65 as Bulgarian authorities reported seven fatalities yesterday.

They included a couple in their 80s, the only inhabitants of a village in the mountainous region of Smolyan in southern Bulgaria, who were found dead in their home on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the country two Iraqi migrants died in a snowstorm, a couple both aged 55 were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning caused by faulty heating and a homeless man froze to death.

Temperatures sank to minus 18 degrees celsius in the capital Sofia and Bulgarian authorities said electricity and gas demand have reached 20-year highs.

Most of the deaths over the past week have been in central and south-eastern Europe, with homeless people and migrants stranded in Greece, Serbia and elsewhere most at risk.

Serbia Europe Migrants Weather Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia Source: Darko Vojinovic

In Turkey snow over the weekend paralysed Istanbul, forced the closure to ships of the Bosphorus Strait and the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Maritime traffic on rivers including the Danube, one of Europe’s busiest waterways, has also been severely hampered.

Hungary Weather The Szechenyi ice breaking ship cuts floes on River Danube near Dunakeszi Source: AP

In Greece, having been caught off guard and facing heavy criticism, the government sent a navy transport ship to the island of Lesbos yesterday, to house around 500 migrants still sleeping in tents.

Greece Migrants Daily Life A Syrian refugee girl holds her younger sister while walking back to their shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers north of Athens. Source: AP

Greece also announced a nationwide week-long hunting ban because of the cold weather gripping most of the country.

© – AFP, 2017

Read: Hail, sleet and blizzard-like conditions as two snow-ice weather warnings take hold>

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