“Beast of the East” leaves more than 20 dead in Europe

This Wednesday, Europe was still frozen by the polar cold wave that claimed the lives of at least 24 people. Untypically, the snow has reached the shores of the Mediterranean and islands such as Corsica and Capri.

With glacial temperatures of up to -24ºC in some parts of Germany and -29ºC at night in Estonia, the most vulnerable people were warned, such as the elderly and the homeless, and several cities provided emergency shelter and assistance for those in need.

Most people died in Poland, with nine dead, followed by Lithuania, with five, and France, with four. The “Beast from the East” also led to two deaths in Spain: One in Hinojos (Huelva) and one in Galdakao (Basque Country).

The Red Cross, which established emergency teams throughout Europe, asked people to be especially attentive to neighbors and family members. The agency called for raising 10,000 blankets in France. According to a census carried out last week, at least 3,000 people are sleeping in the streets of Paris.

According to the British meteorological services, some rural communities could be isolated for days by snow, and warned about the possibility of “long interruptions of power supply and other services such as telephone and mobile networks.” The airline British Airways canceled about 60 flights to and from Heathrow airport.

In Barcelona, snowflakes could already be spotted last Tuesday around 1pm and on Wednesday numerous schools were closed. Starting this Thursday, temperatures will go up again and on Friday the sun will finally make it back to Catalonia.

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