Europe: Bitter cold weather kills hundreds

World Vision is responding to a deadly cold snap affecting Eastern Europe.

By Dwayne Mamo and Kathryn Reid. Photo by Laura Reinhardt.
Published February 6, 2012 at 12:00am PST

Extremely cold weather and record snowfalls have led to hundreds of deaths in Europe in recent days. Eastern Europe has been hit hardest.

World Vision is responding in poverty-affected communities to keep vulnerable children and families safe.

Deadly sub-zero weather closes villages

A Polish news agency reported on Monday that many of the 53 who died there in the past week were homeless people seeking shelter in unheated buildings.

Eight deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours.

Across the Balkans, many villages remain closed off due to continued sub-zero weather, heavy snowfall, and, in some cases, avalanches.

Thirty-four people have been reported dead in Romania, where temperatures have hovered around -13 degrees Fahrenheit since the last half of January. About 250 communities have been affected; 37 are completely cut off. Many schools are closed.

World Vision responds

“World Vision Romania is making efforts to support over 500 vulnerable families, totaling more than 1,100 children from five snow-affected counties,” says Eugene Borlea, emergency relief manager. “Food, blankets, warm clothing, and shoes will be distributed as soon as possible.”

In Albania, World Vision has supplied families in its areas of service with food, and placed heaters in two health centers. In an extreme case, World Vision found a home for a family of four who had been living in a tent with no heat or food and little protective clothing.

How you can help

Pray for protection and warmth for affected children and families in Eastern Europe.

Make a one-time gift to help provide warm clothing. Generous corporate partners have donated millions of dollars worth of thick coats, warm pants and shirts, heavy sweaters, hats and scarves, sturdy shoes, and more. Your gift multiplies 11 times to help distribute these items to the children and families who need them most.