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Commonwealth Games 2002

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SERVICES 
Thursday, 3 January, 2002, 18:12 GMT
Extreme weather grips Europe
Drivers battle with snow and fog on the motorway from Prague to Brno in the Czech Republic
Parts of the Czech Republic are declared a disaster area
Cold and icy weather conditions are continuing to disrupt many parts of Europe, after the biggest snowfalls seen in some countries for decades.

A man walks past by the snow covered independence statue in the Turkish capital of Ankara
Heavy snowfalls hit many parts in Turkey

Scores of people have died from exposure in Poland, Latvia and Russia, while dozens of towns and villages in Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine remain cut off by snowdrifts up to two metres deep.

In Russia, 10 people have frozen to death over the last 24 hours in Moscow, as temperatures plunged to -24C.

This brings the death toll in weather-related incidents to more than 200 since the start of the winter.

In Poland and the Czech Republic, traffic remains paralysed in many areas, although maintenance crews have managed to clear major motorways after snowdrifts eased.

Earlier, officials in Prague declared about a third of the country a disaster area, and several border crossings with Poland and Germany were closed.

School classes were cancelled until Monday, which a private TV station called "snow holidays".

In Bulgaria, dozens of towns and villages remained cut off after the country was hit by the most severe snowstorms in decades.

In neighbouring Turkey, schoolchildren were trapped for 17 hours under an avalanche before being rescued.

Heavy snowfalls in many parts of the country have disrupted traffic and left a number of villages cut off.

Severe weather also continues to take its toll in the Alps, where a number of skiers have been killed in avalanches since the weekend.

See also:

02 Jan 02 | Europe
Snow paralyses central Europe
07 Nov 01 | Health
Cold homes 'killing elderly'
04 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
Europe's climate forecast is hot
18 Mar 99 | Health
Cold 'killing 50,000' each winter
06 Sep 01 | Glasgow 2001
Big freeze for Britain?
18 Dec 01 | Europe
In pictures: Frozen Europe
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