Deep freeze claims six more victims in Poland

1 min

Warsaw (AFP)

Six people died in Poland over a 24-hour period as temperatures plunged across Europe, bringing the toll of hypothermia deaths in the country to 71 since November, authorities said Tuesday.

Police urged people to aid those most vulnerable to hypothermia, especially the homeless, as the mercury sank to below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in some regions.

"Another six people died due to exposure over the last 24 hours," the centre for national security (RCB) said Tuesday in a statement, adding that "the number of hypothermia victims has reached 71," since November 1.

Local authorities have also issued smog alerts across Poland urging the children and the elderly to remain indoors as coal and waste-fired home furnaces drove up air pollution to the highest levels recorded in years.

A deep freeze sweeping across Europe has left at least 40 dead since the weekend, many of them migrants or homeless people.

The last winter in Poland was unusually mild but claimed 77 lives in the nation of 38 million, compared to 78 in 2013-2014 and 177 in 2012-2013.

Heavy snowstorms also reached Turkey over the weekend, paralysing its biggest city Istanbul where almost 65 centimetres (25 inches) of snow fell, forcing hundreds of flights to be cancelled on Saturday.