Poland deaths from deep freeze reach 30

December 3, 2010 4:19:51 AM PST
The death toll from a deep freeze in Poland has increased to 30 with a dozen more deaths overnight, officials said Friday, while some of the worst floods in a century devastated parts of the Balkans. Many of those who died in Poland are drunks or homeless people and police canvassed the streets in the hopes of preventing more from freezing to death. Temperatures across most of Poland were around -15 C (5 F).

Authorities, meanwhile, declared a state of emergency in three Balkan countries -- Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro -- and evacuated hundreds of people after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding along the Drina River -- the worst in 104 years. But floodwaters receded significantly overnight in Bosnia, leaving a trail of mud and debris in many areas.

Bosnian authorities used rafts to rescue people Thursday from apartments in Foca, and on the other side of the river, hundreds of people were evacuated in Serbia and Montenegro as the Drina flooded farms and roads. Schools were closed, many people had no electricity or heat, and water supplies were contaminated along the river in all three countries.

Thousands of people and livestock were also evacuated from northwestern Albania after severe floods. A state of emergency was declared in the city of Shkodra, which remains isolated from the rest of the country by days of heavy rain.

The frigid weather has also caused travel chaos across parts of Europe with airport closure reported in several countries Thursday.

The situation appeared to be improving slightly Friday. Britain's Gatwick Airport reopened after heavy snowfall forced a 48-hour closure, but flight delays and cancellations were still expected as freezing temperatures persisted. Edinburgh's airport reopened while London's City Airport was beginning to operate.

London's Heathrow was open, but its website advised travelers that some airlines were canceling or delaying flights. Paris Charles de Gaulle, which experienced severe delays Thursday, reported no problems Friday.


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