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Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:5PM
Homeless people warm themselves by a stove in a tent set up in Donetsk, Ukraine on December 20, 2012.

Homeless people warm themselves by a stove in a tent set up in Donetsk, Ukraine on December 20, 2012.

Freezing temperatures and cold weather have claimed the lives of at least 83 people in Ukraine over the past weeks as the country suffers one of its coldest winters. According to a Friday statement issued by the Ukrainian Health Ministry, most of the victims were homeless people whose bodies were found on the streets. Over 500 people have been taken to hospitals across the country to receive medical care for frostbite, hypothermia and other cold-related ailments. Some 100 cities and villages across the country have been left without electricity and efforts are underway to restore power. The army has also been clearing roads of snow. Thousands of heating shelters have been set up to provide food and warm shelter to the homeless and elderly. Temperatures have plunged to minus 23 degrees Celsius (minus 9 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions and weather forecasters believe that the cold spell might continue. Last year, 100 people lost their lives due to the cold in Ukraine. Freezing temperatures have also affected Ukraine’s neighboring countries including Bulgaria and Romania where at least six people died in recent days. MAM/HGH