(Vatican Radio)-- At least some 300 people have died in biting cold weather crippling
much of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Most people have died in Russia, neighboring
Ukraine and Poland. Regional correspondent Stefan Bos reports:
As a White
Christmas has turned deadly for many, rescue workers rush to save at least some lives
in the former Soviet Union and nearby nations.
That's difficult in Russia
which is in the icy grip of its coldest December on record. Over 120 people are believed
to have died there within the last two days.
In Siberia, to the east,
temperatures have plummeted to almost minus 60 Celsius. In the Tyva region thousands
evacuated to schopols and hospitals as heating pipes have burst. Resident Irina Bryarkina
“We’ve got nothing here. We don’t
even have water,” Bryarkina said. “It’s good there has been lots of snow so we gather
that snow in our garden and melt it. Do you understand we are freezing here? We have
subzero temperatures in our flats," the woman added.
And she can prove
it. "I measured the temperature in my room where I have small heaters, it is minus
2 Celsius there. In the kitchen where I have a stove burning, it is minus -5 Celsius.”
homes in the region are badly isolated, following decades of neglect under Communism
when energy was cheap.
That's also the case in in neighboring Ukraine and
Poland, where over 100 people died, though many of them homeless.
Scores of deaths have also been reported in other Eastern European
nations and the Balkans, with villages cut off from the outside world.
amid the misery there are miracles.
Serbian television showed how a man fell
while trying to clean the snow from his roof.
He survived, with a laud
laugh and apparently unharmed.
Elsewhere in snow stricken Serbia a woman
who couldn't reach a hospital managed to give birth in a truck. She called her daughter
Snežana, the Serbian word for 'Snow White'.