One illegal migrant dead, two missing in cold snap in Greece

January 31, 2012 11:17 am 

ATHENS, Jan. 31 — One illegal migrant died from hypothermia when trying to enter Greece and two more were declared missing, authorities said on Monday.

The Palestinian national was among a total of 15 persons from Arab, African and Asian countries who were spotted by Greek police struggling to enter the country through frigid cold water of the Evros River at the borderline with Turkey, according to Greek media reports.

Two more, including a nine-year-old girl, were declared missing under similar circumstances in the same northern Greece area over the past 24 hours.

A rescue operation was launched and the group of migrants was transferred to a local hospital.

In a similar incident a few hours earlier in a nearby area, another group of eight illegal immigrants, including a four-year-old boy, was rescued, after their boat capsized in the river, as temperatures plunged to minus 8 degrees Celsius.

According to police figures, 24 persons died when trying to cross Evros from Turkey to Greece in 2011 and 51 persons in 2010.

The new cold snap gripping Greece since the weekend is expected to deteriorate in the coming hours with record-low temperatures for this winter, according to Greek meteorologists. Authorities were now on alert.

Strong winds of force nine on the Beaufort wind scale have affected maritime traffic across the country on Monday and the National Meteorological Service forecast heavy rain and snowfall in many parts of the mainland, including Athens.

The City of Athens and other major towns have already set up emergency centers to accommodate homeless people during the cold wave. (PNA/Xinhua)

FFC/ebp

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