Exposure claims eight lives in Poland, two in Lithuania

Eight people have died of exposure in Poland and two in neighbouring Lithuania as temperatures have plunged across Central Europe in recent days, officials in both European Union states said on Wednesday.

“Eight people, aged 33 to 72, have died of exposure over the last 24 hours, most of them under the influence of alcohol,” Poland’s national police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski told Agence France-Presse.

Overall in November, 15 people perished from exposure in Poland, Sokolowski said.

Two homeless people, a man and a woman, also died of exposure in neighbouring Lithuania over the weekend, local hospital services confirmed.

Heavy snowfall earlier in the week grounded flights and caused transport chaos on Poland’s road and rail networks. Temperatures plunged on Tuesday night to a minus 33 degrees Celsius in the eastern city of Bialystok near Poland’s eastern border with Belarus.

Armed with shovels, 3 000 prison inmates were at the disposal of municipalities across Poland to clear snow and ice, Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski said on Wednesday. Seven hundred have already been mobilised, he told local media. — Sapa-AFP

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