Eight dead as subzero cold, heavy snow grip Balkans region

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 10, 2017 9:51 AM

BELGRADE/SARAJEVO (Reuters) - At least eight people have died as subzero cold and heavy snow enveloped the Balkans, with tens of thousands stranded in remote regions or left without heating in temperatures that dipped as low as -20 degrees Celsius.

Central and east-southeastern Europe have been gripped by a mid-winter deep freeze and snowstorms for days. With temperatures dropping below -30 Celsius, at least 25 people died over the weekend, mainly in Poland.

In the Balkans, a father and son died from frigid cold in Serbia, state RTS TV reported on Tuesday. A man fell into a well and survived 52 hours in extreme cold before being found by neighbors, local officials said.

Thousands of people were trapped in outlying central and southern regions of Serbia by heavy snow. A state of emergency was declared in 11 municipalities.

Serbian authorities also halted navigation along the Danube river after it iced up along some stretches.

In neighboring Bosnia, three people in remote parts of the country froze to death while nearly 50,000 in the central town of Zenica lost their home heating due to a malfunction in a boiler at the ArcelorMittal steel mill, which provides thermal power to households.

Three men in their 50s froze to death in Albania, and municipal authorities took several hundred homeless people to heated shelters.

(Reporting by Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo, Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade, Benet Koleka in Tirana and Anna Koper in Warsaw; editing by Ivana Sekularac/Mark Heinrich)