The Latest: Belgrade migrants line up for food in blizzard

AP News
Posted: Jan 10, 2017 9:19 AM
The Latest: Belgrade migrants line up for food in blizzard

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on the cold spell gripping Europe (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

A blizzard blasting wind and snow against their faces, hundreds of migrants have lined up to receive a warm meal from aid groups outside a make-shift shelter in Belgrade, the Serbian capital.

Migrant men and boys, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, have occupied an abandoned customs warehouse by the Belgrade bus station as they seek ways to move on toward Western Europe.

Aid groups have warned that migrants are at risk of exposure as extremely low temperatures and heavy snow gripped Serbia and much of Eastern Europe last week.

Inside the warehouse, migrants have lit up fires to warm up. Some have put up tents inside the sprawling complex and wrapped themselves in blankets provided by aid groups.

Some migrants say they can't sleep at night because of the cold.


2:45 p.m.

Turkish officials say that a mosque canopy has collapsed in Istanbul because of heavy winds and snowfall, killing one person and injuring several others.

The collapse occurred during a funeral service in the Atakoy neighborhood near Istanbul's main airport. Bulent Kerimoglu, mayor of the Bakirkoy district where Atakoy is located, told reporters more than 10 people were injured.

Ambulances have rushed the injured to nearby hospitals.

Istanbul has experienced heavy snowfall since Friday, grounding hundreds of flights and halting ferries on the Bosporus Strait that are a key means of transport for many commuters in this city straddling the narrow gap between Asia and Europe.

Schools will stay closed for a third day on Wednesday.


1:30 p.m.

Authorities in Serbia say that a father and son have died from freezing temperatures in the Balkan country's south which has been the hardest-hit by the dayslong cold spell.

Officials say that an 88-year-old man and his 64-year-old son from the village of Duga Poljana were discovered by a man from a neighboring village who delivers bread. Serbian state TV says that the two victims were extremely poor.

Dozens of villages in Serbia's south have been cut off by big snowdrifts. Blizzards and extremely low temperatures have paralyzed parts of the country, and much of Eastern Europe.

Several municipalities in Serbia have declared emergency measures to battle the extreme weather. Authorities have banned river traffic on the Danube and the Sava because of icy conditions.


12:20 p.m.

Alarming smog levels in southern Poland have led authorities to close schools in one city and offer free transport in some places to protect children and try to improve the quality of air.

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The government will debate how to fight the smog, after air pollution exceeded warning levels this week in Warsaw and in southern industrial areas experiencing a cold spell.

Children will stay home Tuesday and Wednesday in the low-lying southern city of Rybnik, where drivers were encouraged to use free city transport in an effort to cut down on fumes.

Air monitoring expert Barbara Toczko said Tuesday that the smog chiefly comes from substandard fuels being burned in poor quality heaters in private homes. With snow or precipitation, the pollution hangs over the area where it originated from.


12 p.m.

Romanian authorities have suspended shipping along the River Danube because of bad weather.

Romanian police say that shipping has been suspended midday for an undetermined period along a 900-kilometer (563-mile) stretch of the Europe's second-longest river which crosses Romania.

Romania was gripped by the fifth day of a cold spell Tuesday, which has led to travel delays, power outages and a surge in demand for natural gas and power.

Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea on Tuesday ordered schools in the capital remain closed for the rest of the week.