Big freeze tightens its grip on Europe

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Big freeze tightens its grip on Europe

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The big freeze has tightened its grip on Europe. The death toll has risen as temperatures have dropped and snow has swept across the continent from the east.

In Ukraine, at least 101 people have lost their lives. Supermarkets are short of food as trucks struggle to make deliveries.

A state of emergency has been declared in parts of Serbia where the high winds and snow are set to continue. Emergency services are battling to reach remote areas with vital food supplies.

In Romania, the EU’s second poorest country, nine children were taken into care after a baby died in an unheated house.

Icebreakers have been on patrol in Hamburg to keep the port open with temperatures dipping 11 degrees below freezing. At least three have died in the cold snap.

On the roads in the south of France all lorry traffic has been suspended.

The Siberian weather has broken what had been one of the mildest winters in recent years in Spain. Snow covered the beaches of Barcelona where the cities schoolchildren, 73,000 of them, were sent home as 230 schools were forced to close. Winds have lashed some areas increasing the wind chill factor.

As the cold front spread west, Rome was hit by one of its heaviest snowfalls since 1986. It caused the closure of the Colosseum and the Forum.

Forecasters predict the extreme conditions will persist for another four days in central and eastern Europe.

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