A person walks with an umbrella on a snowed up street in Angouleme, western France. AFP photo
Freezing weather has claimed 26 lives across Central Europe this week including 18 deaths in Poland where temperatures plunged to minus 33 degrees Celsius, officials said Thursday.
“Ten people died due to exposure over the last 24 hours across Poland after eight died on Tuesday,” Poland’s national police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski told AFP.
Alcohol and homelessness are common factors in the deaths and the victims are primarily men, aged 35 to 60, he added.
Alcohol and homelessness also played a role in the freezing deaths of four men aged 47 to 61 in the neighbouring Czech Republic over the last 48 hours, police confirmed.
In Lithuania, cold weather has also claimed four lives. Heavy snow overnight Wednesday to Thursday forced the closure of the international airport in the Czech capital Prague and wreaked havoc on road and railway networks, officials confirmed.
Heavy snowfall earlier this week grounded flights and caused transport chaos on Poland’s road and rail networks. Temperatures plunged Tuesday night to minus 33 degrees Celsius in the eastern city of Bialystok near Poland’s eastern border with Belarus.
Authorities in Poland have 3,000 prison inmates armed with shovels on standby to clear snow and ice.
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