left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Freezing weather kills 17 in Italy

Updated: 2012-02-06 07:05
( Xinhua)

ROME - Record Siberian cold wave hitting Italy caused at least 17 deaths, Rai state television said on Sunday.

Among the victims, there were two clochards in Rome and Milan, as well as a few elderly people found frozen to death at their homes, according to local media.

A 51-year-old man died of heart attack while shoveling snow in central Mosciano, while another young man was found dead in his car covered in snow in southern Isernia.

Extraordinary snowfall that had not occurred since 1985 especially affected central Italy, where the army had to intervene in five regions to clean roads and several cities were put on ice alert.

To cope with snow emergency, authorities in L'Aquila - the town that was struck by a deadly earthquake in 2009 - decided to requisition gasoline from distributors to only deliver it to snowplows and emergency vehicles.

Cars in Rome without snow chains or snow tyres were banned from the roads covered by snow, while schools and public offices stayed closed in the capital and other cities to prevent casualties.

According to local media reports, many places in central Italy remained completely isolated and over 75,000 families were left without electricity.

Sub-zero temperatures made many highways and roads blocked, while flights and trains throughout the country were delayed or cancelled.

According to forecasts, snowfalls will continue to affect Italy the next week.