As Europe experiences its coldest temperatures in years, more than 20 people are now known to have died from the unbearable weather. Deaths have so far been reported in Poland, Bulgaria, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine and more, specifically migrants, the elderly and the homeless. Many initiatives have been taken in order to help those most vulnerable to the weather.
As icy temperature ravage through Europe, the death toll due to the cold weather has been rising over the past week. Ten people were reported to have died of the cold in Poland on Sunday. On the Turkish-Bulgarian border, the bodies of three migrants were found. Deaths have also been reported in Italy, the Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine.
According to the Associated Press, the extreme weather also left many areas from the Baltic States and Poland all the way south to the Mediterranean Sea with power and water outages, frozen rivers and lakes, cancelled flights and has led to widespread accidents on the road. In Serbia, all river transport has been suspended due to freezing waters.
The people who are most affected by the cold are migrants, the elderly and the homeless. The Medecins Sans Frontieres aid organization said it was “very concerned about the thousands of vulnerable people across the continent in danger and stuck in undignified conditions”.
It said: “Of particular concern are the 2,000 people living in informal settlements in Belgrade where temperatures are currently reaching -20C (-4F)”.
According to the organization, the majority of the victims are young migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.
In Italy, homeless hostels have been opening their doors, as it has been reported that of the seven deaths in Italy, five of them were homeless people who were living outside. Many other organizations are making it a mission to help those most vulnerable to the cold.
“We are all working together to help these people,” Mirjana Milenkovski, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, said.
“The next few days are critical, and for sure the health condition of these people is worsening,” said Stephane Moissaing, MSF head of mission in Serbia.