31 Poles die in freezing temperatures


Warsaw - Eastern Europe bore the brunt of a cold snap across the continent over the weekend, with many people dying as temperatures plunged in places to minus 26 Celsius. Poland has suffered for almost a week, with the death toll rising to 31 yesterday. Many of the Polish victims were homeless alcoholics.

In France, four street-sleepers also succumbed to the freezing temperatures. The weather left 17 dead in Romania, with at least 49 injured, many from frostbite, as snow continued to fall yesterday blocking hundreds in their cars. Seven people died and 29 others were seriously injured in about 30 road accidents, while nine other people, mostly homeless, died of hypothermia in the north. The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported that thick ice had again foiled attempts by a nuclear-powered ice-breaker to force a passage through to the isolated Chukotka peninsula for an oil tanker to ferry in urgently-needed fuel supplies.