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1/22/2017
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Lowest temperatures in decades in parts of eastern Europe

Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Ice covers vegetation at the main Kosovo power plant in the town of Obilic on Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017. As temperatures plummeted to -25 C (-13 F), there were power outages in many areas in what meteorologists said was the coldest weather since 1963, when it dropped to -32.5 Centigrade (-26.5 Fahrenheit) in the eastern Kosovo city of Gjilan. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
Ice covers vegetation at the main Kosovo power plant in the town of Obilic on Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017. As temperatures plummeted to -25 C (-13 F), there were power outages in many areas in what meteorologists said was the coldest weather since 1963, when it dropped to -32.5 Centigrade (-26.5 Fahrenheit) in the eastern Kosovo city of Gjilan. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
Moored riverboats are stuck on the Pest side embankment of the frozen River Danube in Budapest, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The transport department of the metropolitan government office banned shipping on the Danube and the ferry traffic is also halted in the Hungarian capital. (Bea Kallos/MTI via AP)
Moored riverboats are stuck on the Pest side embankment of the frozen River Danube in Budapest, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The transport department of the metropolitan government office banned shipping on the Danube and the ferry traffic is also halted in the Hungarian capital. (Bea Kallos/MTI via AP)
Ice floes float on Elbe river in Dresden, eastern Germany, Wednesday Jan. 11, 2017. More heavy snow in Eastern Europe is causing fresh hazards for people already struggling with travel delays, power outages and sub-zero temperatures. Two more deaths were reported in Poland, the worst-hit nation in the recent cold snap to sweep Europe, which has now caused at least 65 deaths. (Arno Burgi/dpa via AP)
Ice floes float on Elbe river in Dresden, eastern Germany, Wednesday Jan. 11, 2017. More heavy snow in Eastern Europe is causing fresh hazards for people already struggling with travel delays, power outages and sub-zero temperatures. Two more deaths were reported in Poland, the worst-hit nation in the recent cold snap to sweep Europe, which has now caused at least 65 deaths. (Arno Burgi/dpa via AP)
Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Two men fish in the frozen Moskva River in in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The temperature rose to minus - 10 C (F 14) after a cold spell in Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Two men fish in the frozen Moskva River in in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The temperature rose to minus - 10 C (F 14) after a cold spell in Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
The Szechenyi ice breaking ship cuts floes on River Danube near Dunakeszi, just north of Budapest on its way to the Hungarian capital from Gonyu, 108 kms west of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)
The Szechenyi ice breaking ship cuts floes on River Danube near Dunakeszi, just north of Budapest on its way to the Hungarian capital from Gonyu, 108 kms west of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys at sunrise during a freezing winter morning in one of the industrial parks of Nyiregyhaza, 245 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Energy demand of industrial users increased significantly due to extreme cold weather in Hungary. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)
Smoke rises from chimneys at sunrise during a freezing winter morning in one of the industrial parks of Nyiregyhaza, 245 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Energy demand of industrial users increased significantly due to extreme cold weather in Hungary. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)
The Szechenyi ice breaking ship cuts floes on the River Danube near Dunakeszi, just north of Budapest on its way to the Hungarian capital from Gonyu, 108 kms west of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)
The Szechenyi ice breaking ship cuts floes on the River Danube near Dunakeszi, just north of Budapest on its way to the Hungarian capital from Gonyu, 108 kms west of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A migrant walks in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A migrant walks in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Smoke rises from chimneys during a freezing winter morning in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A Syrian refugee girl holds her younger sister while walking back to their shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The European Commission said conditions for refugees on islands and other camps where they are housed in tents despite severe cold weather, is "untenable." (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A Syrian refugee girl holds her younger sister while walking back to their shelter at the refugee camp of Ritsona about 86 kilometers (53 miles) north of Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The European Commission said conditions for refugees on islands and other camps where they are housed in tents despite severe cold weather, is "untenable." (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Migrants queue for food in front of an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Hundreds of migrants are sleeping rough in parks and make-shift shelters in the Serbian capital in freezing temperatures waiting for a chance to move forward toward the European Union. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
The Brandenburg gate can be seen through the window of a car during snowfall in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Sophia Kembowski/dpa via AP)
The Brandenburg gate can be seen through the window of a car during snowfall in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Sophia Kembowski/dpa via AP)
A person rides a bike through heavy snow fall on a day with winter weather in Berlin, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
A person rides a bike through heavy snow fall on a day with winter weather in Berlin, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:03 PM
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Authorities dug out stranded residents as heavy snow blanketed Eastern Europe Wednesday and people struggled with travel delays, power outages and subzero temperatures. Homeless people and migrants were among those most at risk.

The recent cold snap has now been blamed for at least 73 deaths, and seen the lowest temperatures for decades in some parts.

Poland, the country hit hardest by the deep freeze, reported two more deaths Wednesday as havoc spread to many countries across the region.

Greece's navy sent a ship to the island of Lesbos to house some 500 refugees and migrants. A medical association on the island said conditions at the main camp there were "inhuman," with migrants in tents exposed to freezing temperatures.

Rights group Amnesty International urged the European Union and the Greek government to move migrants from the Greek islands to the mainland and launched an online petition.

Swaths of northern and eastern Bulgaria were paralyzed by snowdrifts that blocked roads and left 117 towns and villages without electricity. The main highway linking the capital Sofia with the Black Sea port of Burgas was closed.

Bulgarian soldiers used heavy machinery to clear major roads, rescue stranded people and supply remote villages with food and water. The energy ministry said that it had turned down emergency requests for power from neighbors Greece and Turkey to avoid the possibility of having to ration electricity for domestic customers.

In Kosovo, police said a homeless man was found dead, apparently from hypothermia, the second cold-related fatality reported in that country. As temperatures plummeted to minus 25 Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit), there were power outages in many areas. Meteorologists said it was the coldest weather since 1963.

Snow continued to cut off communities in southern Albania where the death toll since the cold snap began stood at nine, most of them homeless people. Army helicopters and emergency authorities were distributing aid to remote mountain areas, while military and civil heavy vehicles helped clear snowbound roads.

In Romania, blizzards closed more than 130 roads and caused huge delays and cancellations on the railways.

Thousands of commuters rode the Bucharest subway, while others walked on the streets as snow piled high on the sidewalks. Several people were seen skiing.

In Serbia, where six deaths were blamed on the recent cold, authorities evacuated 130 snowbound residents. Dozens of vehicles rescued people stuck in snowdrifts. In Bosnia, authorities said four elderly people had died of hypothermia since Jan. 2

Moldova border police temporarily closed seven border crossing points with Ukraine because of heavy snowfall.

Schools were closed in the worst-affected areas of Serbia and Romania and also on the Greek island of Lesbos.

___

Monika Scislowska, in Warsaw, Poland; Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia; Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania; Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece; Sabina Niksic in Sarajevo, Bosnia; Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, Bulgaria; and Dmitry Vlasov in Kiev, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

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