Drink and cold kills 13 in Europe

2010-12-06 17:35

Warsaw - Sub-zero weather claimed 13 victims in Poland and the Czech Republic over the last 24 hours, local authorities said on Monday, raising the death toll in four EU countries across the region to 79.

Police statistics showed nine people died in Poland, raising the death toll from exposure to 45 this month in addition to 15 in November.

A total of 289 people died of exposure in 2009 in Poland, including 119 victims in January alone, police statistics show.

Most of the victims are homeless men aged 35 to 60 who were under the influence of alcohol.

Temperatures eased across Poland overnight, and hovered around freezing in the capital Warsaw on Monday, but were forecast to plunge again by Friday.

Four more people died in sub-zero temperatures in the neighbouring Czech Republic since Friday raising the death toll in this Central European country to 12 since a cold snap began in late November.

Homelessness and alcohol also played a role in these fatalities.