Cold spell in Ukraine kills 37 people

Last updated 07:51 19/12/2012

A cold snap in Ukraine claims 37 lives and temperatures in parts of Russia dip below minus 40 Celsius.

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Ukrainian health officials say 37 people have died from the severe cold spell that hit the country this month.

Temperatures have dropped as low as minus 17 Celsius.

The Health Ministry said overnight (NZ time) that 190 people have sought medical help for hypothermia, of which 162 people have been hospitalised.

No health official would say how the deaths occurred, but victims in previous cold spells have been mostly the homeless and elderly people. Authorities have set up some 1500 centres around the country to provide food and shelter.

The cold weather comes as heavy snowfall in the eastern European nation blocked key roads, leaving hundreds of cars stranded.

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- AP

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