Vatican Radio)Over 100 people have already died this month due to extreme winter weather
crippling much of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Most victims are said to be in Ukraine
where officials reported over 60 deaths since early December.
try to save lives as snowfall of up to two meters has trapped hundreds of cars on
motorways in western parts of Ukraine.
But rescue teams are struggling to
get through, adding to fears the death toll will climb.
“We are running out
of petrol," said a drivers who is among the many stranded on the road from Capital
Kiev to border town Chop. "Petrol will last till the night, but I don’t know what
will happen next. We might really freeze to death with our children,” he warned.
least one woman reportedly gave birth to healthy twins while being stranded in her
car. Unable to reach her, doctors instructed her husband via a mobile phone how to
help his wife.
Authorities have set up hundreds of heated tents where people
can get free hot drinks and first aid as temperatures plunged to -23 degrees Celsius.
But all those efforts have come too late for the dozens of people who already
froze to death.
In February, when Ukraine went through its coldest winter
in six years, over 130 people died of cold in the country of 45 million people.
Ukraine, dozens of people are also known to have died elsewhere in the region, including
in Poland, Czech Republic as well as Balkan nations Croatia and Serbia
Hungary there is concern that homeless people will especially suffer this winter.
United Nations experts on extreme poverty and housing have therefore urged
the government to uphold a recent Constitutional Court decision decriminalizing homelessness.
Hungary's center right government introduced controversial legislation that
would enable police to fine, and even jail people who live on the streets.