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Sub-zero weather kills another 13 in Central Europe

A sports fisherman tries his luck despite freezing temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius at Slovakia's dam Liptovska Mara on December 5, 2010. An ongoing cold wave with heavy snow and record low temperatures has delayed air flights and snarled road travel across much of Europe. Photo courtesy AFP.Cold claims 13 in Poland as Greece battles floods
Ioannina, Greece (AFP) Dec 6, 2010 - The toll from bad weather in Europe rose Monday, with 13 victims in Poland and Czech Republic in the last 24 hours from freezing temperatures and a man missing due to floods in Greece. Police statistics showed nine people died in Poland, raising the death toll from exposure to 45 this month, out of 79 who have died in four EU countries. Four more people died in sub-zero temperatures in the neighbouring Czech Republic since Friday, raising the death toll in the Central European country to 12 since a cold snap began in late November. In northern Greece, a 35-year-old Bulgarian national is missing after attempting to cross the Strymonas river, Greek news agency Ana reported.

Two people who were with the man managed to survive by clinging on to branches, the report said. About 100 shops and 10 homes suffered damage in the city of Ioannina when a lake overflowed, while 50 homes were damaged in surrounding mountain villages due to heavy rain. Landslides caused the closure of a 65-kilometre (40 miles) stretch of the highway linking Ioannina with the port city of Igoumenitsa. Northern Greece has been hit by heavy rainfall for the past week, which intensified over the weekend. Thousands were evacuated in the Balkans in recent days because of flooding.

Scottish airports hit as fresh snow falls in Britain
London (AFP) Dec 6, 2010 - Scotland's busiest airport was closed again on Monday as fresh snow covered parts of Britain and freezing fog ushered in another bitterly cold week. Edinburgh Airport, closed for several days last week, was shut until at least 1800 GMT, while Scotland's second-largest air hub, Glasgow, halted flights while snow was cleared from the runway but was hoping to reopen later Monday. Britain's two main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick near London, were operating most flights, following a slight rise in temperatures across Britain over the weekend. All airports advised travellers to check with their airlines before travelling. It was back to lessons for the majority of Scottish children after an impromptu week off when their schools were shut for safety reasons because of the snowy and icy conditions.
by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) Dec 6, 2010
Sub-zero weather claimed 13 victims in Poland and the Czech Republic over the last 24 hours, local authorities said Monday, raising the death toll in four EU countries across the region to 79.

Police statistics showed nine people died in Poland, raising the death toll from exposure to 45 this month in addition to 15 in November.

A total 289 people died of exposure in 2009 in Poland, including 119 victims in January alone, police statistics show.

Most of the victims are homeless men aged 35 to 60 who were under the influence of alcohol.

Temperatures eased across Poland overnight, and hovered around freezing in the capital Warsaw Monday, but were forecast to plunge again by Friday.

Four more people died in sub-zero temperatures in the neighbouring Czech Republic since Friday raising the death toll in this Central European country to 12 since a cold snap began in late November.

Homelessness and alcohol also played a role in these fatalities.

earlier related report
Pakistan flood victims face harsh winter
Islamabad, Pakistan (UPI) Dec 6, 2010 - The onslaught of winter is compounding the hardships faced by millions of Pakistan flood victims, aid agencies say.

Completing a four-day visit to Pakistan Sunday, Valerie Amos, U.N. undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said millions of people need assistance for healthcare, education, agricultural support and to build rebuild their homes and livelihoods.

"The world's attention is waning at a time when some of the biggest challenges are still to come," said Amos in a news release.

The July-August floods, the worst natural disaster in Pakistan's history, killed nearly 1,800 people and displaced 21 million others.

So far, the United Nations has received about half of its $1.94 billion appeal target.

The U.S. military formally ended its relief mission to flood-stricken Pakistan, it was announced Thursday but officials stressed that the government would continue with financial relief for flood victims, saying that it is providing more than $571 million.

While some displaced families have returned to their villages, they live in tents and makeshift structures that don't protect them adequately from the elements. And with a shortage of food, children are going hungry, making them more vulnerable to pneumonia and other diseases, Save the Children said.

In the Swat district in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, temperatures are already below freezing.

"Winter will bring with it new threats for children and their families -- areas are likely to be cut off and the cold will sharply increase the numbers of acute respiratory infections and exacerbate high rates of malnutrition, which are two of the biggest killers of children," Sarah Crowe, regional spokeswoman for UNICEF South Asia, told IRIN, the U.N. humanitarian news agency.

A lack of resources is hampering relief and rehabilitation efforts.

"We have started to try and meet those changing needs with the distribution of winter clothing for children but lack of funds is preventing us from doing our job effectively," Crowe said.

"There is a real sense that the world has forgotten Pakistan's children. Funds that were trickling in have now virtually stopped … this emergency is not over for children here, it has just evolved," Crowe said.

Amos said levels of malnutrition are as high as 40 percent in some parts of Pakistan and millions of people are still in dire need of healthcare.

"The world must not close its eyes to the needs of the Pakistani people. We must continue to help the most vulnerable families. They want a future for their children," said Amos.




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Severe weather, air strike disrupt travel across Europe
Paris (AFP) Dec 4, 2010
An early cold snap in Europe claimed more lives Saturday, while a wildcat strike by Spanish air traffic controllers added to the travel chaos caused by snow, ice, and in some countries flooding. Freezing weather killed another nine people in Poland over a 24-hour period, bringing the death toll there to 46 since the beginning of November, police said. Temperatures there dropped as low as ... read more

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