More than 200 dead in Europe's big chill

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More than 200 dead in Europe's big chill

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At least 220 people have died in the past week throughout Europe, victims of widespread severe winter weather.

Worst hit have been Ukraine and Poland which have accounted for more than half of those who have perished.

Ukrainian authorities have set up thousands of heated tents throughout the country. Officials say the majority are homeless people.

In south-eastern Poland it was minus 35 degrees.

There have been deaths too in Russia, Romania, the Czech Republic Albania and Bulgaria but the Siberian conditions have spread widely across the whole of Europe.

In Serbia, 11,000 villagers living in mountainous areas were trapped by blizzards.

There was snowfall too along the Mediterranean coast and in Spain.

In France, the national electricity generator has asked householders to go easy on heating as demand approaches record levels.

There was a rare sight in Rome with 40 centimetres of snow in parts, the heaviest covering there for three decades.

The weather disturbed transport services throughout the whole of Italy.

In the capital, Rome, most children stayed away from school and the Coliseum was closed to visitors because of the icy conditions.