Blizzards, Cold Claim 9 Lives in Balkans, Central Europe
The heavy snowfall that engulfed much of South-Eastern and Central Europe over the weekend has claimed at least 9 lives.
Four persons have perished in Croatia and two more in Serbia due to dropping temperatures and blizzards, informed authorities.
Three cold-related deaths were also reported in the Czech Republic later on Sunday.
Cars had to wait for hours on a main Serbian highway leading to Hungary, trapped in snow that accumulated for hours.
Temperatures have dropped to -5 degrees Centigrade, with the windchill reaching as low as -15 C.
The storm arrived in Western Bulgaria Sunday afternoon, but has this far caused no troubles.
Bulgaria's National Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology had announced code orange for parts of the country.
The heaviest snowfall has fallen on Bulgaria's southern mountain ranges, where the cover is over 50 cm.
Authorities have closed all Bulgaria-Serbia crossing points for freight vehicles due to bad weather conditions.
The Serbian Ministry of Interior has opened the following emergency phone lines due to the snow storms: +381 193 and +381 19 85.
The Bulgarian Foreign Affarirs Ministry has published the contacts of Bulgarian diplomatic missions in Serbia: Embassy in Belgrade: +381 11 36 13 980; +381 11 36 13 990; е-mail: Embassy.Belgrade@mfa.bg.
Consulate in Nis: +381 18 516 800; +381 18 516 700, fax: +381 18 516 900; е-mail: Consulate.Nish@mfa.bg.