Monday, December 10, 2012

At least 6 die as massive snowstorm hits Balkans

Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall have killed at least six people and caused travel chaos across the Balkans, with rescue teams struggling to reach people stranded in buses and cars in Serbia yesterday.
Officials said four people have died in Croatia and two in Serbia as a result of blizzards over the weekend, closing airports and roads and blocking public transportation in big cities.

People travelling in vehicles waited for hours on several roads in Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina, including the main highway leading from Belgrade to the Hungarian border, before rescue teams could free them from 50cm (20in) of snow that had fallen in just a few hours.

A woman gave birth to a healthy baby in a stranded truck on her way to a hospital, and named her Snezana, or Snow White in Serbian, state TV reported. Ivica Dacic, who serves as Serbia’s prime minister and interior minister, ordered all available police personnel to take part in the rescue operations.

The airport in Zagreb, Croatia, was closed for several hours on Saturday, and some of that nation’s roads were closed because of high winds and heavy snow.

The situation improved in Croatia on Sunday, but a warning against driving remained in place because of icy roads. Authorities in Serbia and Croatia warned people to stay indoors.  Blizzards also hit Slovenia and Bosnia.

As the storms headed east across the Balkans yesterday, Romania’s army was trying to clear snowbound roads as the country voted in a parliamentary election.

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