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news 10 Dec 12

Heavy Snowfall Claims Lives in Balkans

Blizzards and freezing temperatures claimed six lives and caused travel chaos in the Balkans over the weekend.

BIRN
Belgrade, Zagreb, Bucharest, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Sofia

Authorities said that four people died in Croatia and two in Serbia due to the heavy snow, which fell for more than 30 hours straight in most parts of the region over the weekend.

Strong gales and snowstorms throughout Croatia on Saturday caused many traffic problems as well as power outages.

The weather blocked road and railway traffic and delays were reported in public transportation in Zagreb. The city deployed its winter service teams to remove snow and ice from the streets, but strong winds continued to disrupt traffic.  Zagreb airport was closed for several hours on Saturday.

According to Croatian officials, the weekend storm brought the heaviest snowfall in Zagreb in 57 years.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Serbia, Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic ordered extra measures to be taken to deal with the storm.

The situation was most severe in the northern province of Vojvodina, where more than 100 vehicles and several buses got stuck on snow-covered roads.

Some 660 people, including 30 children, had to be evacuated from stranded vehicles.

On Sunday, a woman who could not make it to the hospital because of the snow gave birth in a stranded truck. The baby girl was named Snezana (Snow White).

Montenegro was hit over the weekend by a strong cyclone, which brought heavy rainfall in the central and southern regions and snowfall in the north of the country.

Combined with the strong wind, the cyclone affected traffic, the distribution of electricity and the functioning of telecommunication services.

Blizzards also hit Bosnia and Herzegovina, causing troubles on the roads.

Roads from Glamoca towards Croatia were closed, as well as the Glamoc-Drvar road.

Heavy snowfall was also reported in Romania, where citizens were voting on Sunday in a general election. The army was deployed to clear snowbound roads so that people could go out and cast ballots.

The storm arrived in western Bulgaria on Sunday, but did not cause problems.

The heaviest snowfall was reported on Bulgaria's southern mountain ranges, where the cover stood at over 50cm.

Authorities closed all Bulgaria-Serbia crossing points for freight vehicles due to the bad weather conditions.

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