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Deaths from Romania's winter freeze up to 86: ministry
by Staff Writers
Bucharest (AFP) Feb 15, 2012

Another seven deaths from Romania's wave of bitterly cold weather has brought the toll up to 86, the health ministry said Wednesday, as the country struggled with up to five metres of snow.

The seven deaths came amid a growing row over the authorities' failure to protect vulnerable people trapped in their homes by the heavy snowfalls, which in some cases have completely buried houses.

The latest interior ministry report said 225 towns and villages were still cut off by the snow, with 156 main roads impassable.

Seventy teams of workers from the Electrica power company have been working to restore electricity to some 4,200 over four regions.

Interior ministry helicopters have had to carry out 26 airlifts to get people to hospital.

Officials now fear that the thaw of the massive amounts of snow will create a fresh crisis from the consequent flooding.

Paraglider brings food to snowbound Romanian village
Dumitresti, Romania (AFP) Feb 15, 2012 - With its roads cut off by heavy snowfall for days, a village in central Romania received welcome deliveries of food and medical supplies on Wednesday -- from a paraglider.

Marian Ciobanu, a 40-year-old man from Bucharest, decided to fly above the village of Valea Salciei in order to airdrop the supplies, according to an AFP photographer.

All roads leading to Valea Salciei have been cut off by heavy snowfall and ice since Romania became caught up in Europe's big freeze three weeks ago.

On Wednesday, 225 towns and villages were still cut off by metres of snow, the interior ministry said. Some are getting food and medical aid only by helicopter.

Local and national authorities have been criticised for their slow reaction to the situation, especially in clearing snow on rural roads.

A total of 86 people have died in the cold snap in the last three weeks, according to the health ministry.

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Snow damages Colosseum, mediaeval churches in Italy: report
Rome (AFP) Feb 14, 2012
Heavy snow has caused extensive damage to the mediaeval walled town of Urbino and further deteriorated the Colosseum in Rome, already badly in need of repair, Italian newspapers reported Tuesday. Partial collapses have been reported at the convents of San Francesco and San Bernardino in Urbino and the roof of the Church of the Capuchins outside the town centre has completely caved in, La Rep ... read more

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