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90 die in Europe's deep freeze

Military set up emergency shelters for those left out in the cold

ISTANBUL, Turkey | February 1, 2012

Blizzard conditions ground Istanbul, Turkey, to a halt Wednesday, while European officials said at least 90 people had died in winter's frigid grip.

Emergency Ministry officials said 43 people had died in Ukraine and another 720 were being treated for hypothermia or frostbite, The Daily Telegraph in London reported. The Polish Interior Ministry said 27 people had died and officials in Prague said at least 10 people had died in the Czech Republic capital, and the newspaper said deaths also were reported elsewhere in the country but no numbers were provided. Eight people were reported dead in Romania and the weather was blamed for two deaths in Germany, the Telegraph said.

Istanbul officials said said the city's transit buses were unable to run because of heavy snow, which weather officials reached nearly 20 inches in some parts of the city, Today's Zaman reported.

At least 87 domestic and international flights at Istanbul Ataturk Airport were canceled early Wednesday because of poor weather conditions, airport authorities said. Ferry service also was halted.

The temperature reached minus-56 degrees F in Russia and bitter cold also took hold in Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, Sky News reported Wednesday. Even Greece experienced snow.

Euronews reported Tuesday it's been so cold in the Czech Republic train tracks buckled and locomotives broke down.

Sky News said heavy snows closed the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey to large ships Tuesday.

"It has completely affected daily life in Istanbul," one man told the broadcaster. "No shops are open and there is no traffic."

Inmates from a prison near Bucharest, Romania, volunteered to dig out 300 dogs trapped in snowbound kennels, the news agency said.

Sky News reported most of the fatalities in Ukraine were homeless people who froze to death. The military set up emergency shelters for those left out in the cold, the British broadcaster said.

"I drank a bit, and slept on the bench, woke up in the night and couldn't feel my legs," one man in a hospital in the capital Kiev told Sky News.

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