Hungary sends in tanks as cold snap grips E Europe

Updated: 2013-03-16 09:29


  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

No electricity

The government said it had sent out tanks and other military vehicles with caterpillar tracks to reach otherwise inaccessible areas and to pull vehicles out of snow drifts.

The weekend's premier league and second tier football fixtures were cancelled, with night-time temperatures expected to hit -5 to -15 degrees Celsius (23 to 5 Fahrenheit).

After a relatively mild winter for much of the region, almost 200,000 people in Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia were left shivering without electricity on Friday. Heavy rain hit parts of Serbia and Bosnia.

In Bulgaria, one woman was killed when scaffolding collapsed in high winds in the central town of Gabrovo, and a school was evacuated in the southern town of Krichim when wind tore off the roof.

To the south, in Kosovo, a 10-year-old girl drowned when a river burst its banks in heavy rain in the northern town of Skenderaj. Dozens of homes were flooded in the west of the country, a Reuters reporter said.

"The situation is alarming," Klina municipality spokeswoman Samije Gjergjaj told Reuters. She said some 300 people were stranded by 3-metre high floodwater.

"There's just one small boat evacuating these people," said Gjergjaj. "We're waiting for the state emergency services to help out."

Heavy snow also paralysed parts of southeastern Poland, where police banned heavy lorries from entering the city of Rzeszow for fear they would get stuck.

In eastern Slovakia, snow stranded about 40 lorries on a highway in the High Tatras region. The army deployed hundreds of soldiers to help out and authorities appealed to people to avoid venturing out by car.

Hungary sends in tanks as cold snap grips E Europe

A member of the Hungarian rescue team tries to clear the road at the M1 highway, 80 km west of Budapest, March 15, 2013. Thousands of Hungarian motorists got trapped in heavy snow on the motorways as a sudden cold snap and high winds struck the country. [Photo/Agencies]