The Latest: Brussels homeless forced inside amid cold snap

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on frigid weather in Europe (all times local):


4:45 p.m.

As a cold snap grips Europe, authorities in the Belgian capital Brussels have begun forcing homeless people off the streets and out of subzero temperatures.

A mayor in the Etterbeek neighborhood has ordered that people be obliged to take shelter at night between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. until March 7 unless the weather improves.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close isn’t going quite that far but he told The Associated Press Tuesday that social workers and police are being firm to stop people freezing to death.

Close said: “We won’t put them in jail. They did not commit any crimes. But the idea is to protect people from themselves and to push them toward shelters.”

Brussels has around 1,000 places available for homeless people during the winter.


2:55 p.m.

Heavy snow in parts of Britain is causing disruptions to road, rail and air travel and has forced hundreds of schools across the country to close.

Snow and ice warnings were in place Tuesday in eastern Britain. Met Office forecasters said some rural communities could be completely cut off with power cuts and weakened mobile phone signals.

Major train companies reported cancellations and disrupted service. The affected networks include Greater Anglia, the London Overground, South Western Railway and others.

British Airways cancelled a number of short-haul flights while trying to preserve its long-haul schedule to and from London Heathrow Airport.

Strong snow is expected Wednesday in northeast England and Scotland as the intense wintry weather continues.


2:30 p.m.

Blizzards are battering Romania and leaving scores of roads blocked by snowdrifts. At least three deaths have been reported.

Officials closed dozens of roads in south and east Romania on Tuesday after heavy snowfall overnight. Some drivers were stranded all night by the snow.

Officials said a 65-year-old man was found frozen to death outside his home in northern Romania and an 83-year-old woman collapsed on the street unconscious and was covered in snow. She died later in the hospital.

Health officials said a 74-year-old woman was found unconscious in a dilapidated house in the eastern city of Galati and later died of hypothermia. It was the sixth cold-related death in the city this year.

Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea said schools would remain closed in the capital until the end of the week.


1:30 p.m.

A Danish newspaper report says that an army personnel carrier with caterpillar tracks has been sent out on the roads of Denmark’s Baltic Sea island of Bornholm, north of Germany, for the first time in five years.

The vehicle, which can drive through deep snow, will transport police and ambulance personnel to locations if needed, according to the local Bornholms Tidende paper.

A second vehicle with the same system is being readied on Bornholm where there has been heavy snowfall and temperatures dipping to below -5 C (23 F).


1 p.m.

Dutch authorities have banned boats from some of Amsterdam’s iconic canals in a move aimed at helping them freeze over so that residents can lace up their skates and glide over the frozen waterways.

Freezing temperatures gripping much of Europe are also hitting the Dutch capital, where people were last able to skate on the canals in 2012.

As well as banning boats, the local water authority said Tuesday it is closing sluices and locks to help ice growth by slowing the movement of water.

While there is not enough ice yet and the weather forecast suggests rising temperatures after the weekend, Alderman Udo Kock says, “we are doing everything we can to allow residents and visitors to hopefully be able to skate on the canals.”


12:45 p.m.

Poland’s police say that five people died from the cold overnight, when temperatures dropped in some areas to -22 C (-7.6 F.)

That brought the number of deaths from hypothermia to 58 this winter, according to national police statistics. Such deaths usually occur among homeless people or drunk people who stay outside during the night.

Authorities in some cities and towns, especially in the east where temperatures are lowest, will be placing coal heaters in the streets to help people keep warm.


12:35 p.m.

Some migrants in the French capital have been exposed to the Siberian cold front that has engulfed Paris and large swathes of France with little more than tents and sleeping bags.

In the makeshift camp set up along the banks of a canal that runs through northeast Paris, a group of largely Afghan migrants lit a small fire on Tuesday morning to warm up their hands after a sleepless night that saw temperatures drop below -5 C (23 F).

Saraj, a 27-year-old migrant from Afghanistan who arrived in Paris three weeks ago, told The Associated Press he hadn’t managed to get any rest the night before.

Temperatures are set to rise later this week but Saraj’s group will probably have to put up with some heavy rain.


10:20 a.m.

Germany has suffered one of its coldest nights, with the mercury dropping below minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) in large parts of the country.

The German meteorological office said Tuesday it recorded a temperature of minus 30.4 C atop the country’s highest peak, the Zugspitze, overnight.

Much of Europe is currently experiencing low temperatures due to a blast of icy air from the northeast.

The German chancellery says it has canceled a display of military honors planned Wednesday in Berlin for the arrival of Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, “due to the weather.”

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