Ukraine’s Death Toll From Cold Spell Reaches 151

February 17, 2012

Health officials say 151 people have died in the Ukraine during Eastern Europe’s record-breaking cold spell, with alcohol regularly a contributing factor.

The health ministry said Thursday that nearly 4,000 others have been hospitalized with hypothermia and frostbite.

Emergency officials say in 90 percent of cases, people died because they were under the influence of alcohol, which increases the risk of hypothermia and generally decreases a person’s ability to feel and respond to the cold.

The cold spell has prompted authorities to close nurseries, schools and colleges across the country.

Heavy snowfalls have also caused power outages and trapped hundreds of vehicles on motorways in southern Ukraine, as well as several ships in the Sea of Azov.

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