Three people die in Serbia's cold snap

January 31, 2012 11:17 am 

BELGRADE, Jan. 31 — The combined wave of snow and plunging temperature has resulted in three deaths in Serbia and left two people missing, local media reported on Monday.

Abundant drifting snow, over three meters in several places, has made transport difficult in mountainous regions in particular and interrupted electrical supply to many isolated villages throughout the country.

The country's capital Belgrade recorded minus 9 degrees Celsius. In the city of Kragujevac, the coldest urban center in the country, temperature plunged to minus 12 degrees Celsius and bus operators struggled with frozen fuel lines.

Fourteen municipalities have declared a state of emergency, with the Serbian Army deployed to help clear snow and evacuate the elderly and the infirm.

On the Pester plateau, approximately 250 km southwest of Belgrade, over 50 villages remained inaccessible due to snow drifts reaching three meters in height. Approximately 1,000 residents in remote villages near Ljubovija, near the Bosnian border, remained isolated.

"This is a very difficult situation," said Ismet Mahmutovic of the emergency services of Sjenica, the town at the center of the Pester plateau. "We won't be able to clear it all within seven days, on the condition that there is no more snowfall."

Predrag Maric, head of emergency services for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said in the past two weeks, 50 people have been rescued from the drifting snow. He called on inhabitants of rural villages to maintain supplies of medicines and to stay indoors. (PNA/Xinhua)

FFC/ebp

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