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Freezing conditions paralyze Danube River shipping

 Greek rescuers carry an evacuated man in a dinghy through the flooded village of Ormenio, on the northeastern border with Bulgaria, after severe floo...
 Floodwaters cover streets and the lower levels of buildings in the village of Ormenio, on the northeastern border with Bulgaria, after severe floodin...
 Floodwaters cover streets and the lower levels of buildings in the village of Ormenio, on the northeastern border with Bulgaria, after severe floodin...
 A boat is captured in the ice in Hamburg, northern Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. A cold spell has affected Europe with temperatures plummeting fa...
 Boats are seen in the frozen river Spree, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. A cold spell is affected large parts of Europe with temperatures ...
 Cormorants standing on the banks of the frozen Sava river in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Hundreds of people have died across Europe an...
 In this photo  Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 photo people stand next to a natural ice sculpture that was formed after the wind blew waves over the boardwalk ...
 People enjoy the frozen lake Alster in Hamburg, northern Germany, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. A cold spell has reached Europe with temperatures plumm...
 The crew of a border patrol ship waits as their boat is freed from frozen Danube waters by an ice breaker, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, F...
 A pelican flies above partially frozen Danube waters in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Bulgaria and Romania are suspending all s...
 Partially frozen Danube waters are seen at sunset, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, 2012, back dropped by the Bulgarian bank of...
 A crew members of an old ice breaker helps to free the ship from frozen Danube waters, near the bank, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8...
 A crew member of an ice breaker ship, watches a border patrol ship as it is freed from frozen Danube waters, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday,...
 A man walks on the deck of an ice breaker ship, trying to free itself from frozen Danube waters, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 201...

Greece Europe Weather

Greek rescuers carry an evacuated man in a dinghy through the flooded village of Ormenio, on the northeastern border with Bulgaria, after severe floo...

Greece Europe Weather

Floodwaters cover streets and the lower levels of buildings in the village of Ormenio, on the northeastern border with Bulgaria, after severe floodin...

Greece Europe Weather

Floodwaters cover streets and the lower levels of buildings in the village of Ormenio, on the northeastern border with Bulgaria, after severe floodin...

Germany Europe Weather

A boat is captured in the ice in Hamburg, northern Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. A cold spell has affected Europe with temperatures plummeting fa...

APTOPIX Germany Europe Weather

Boats are seen in the frozen river Spree, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. A cold spell is affected large parts of Europe with temperatures ...

Serbia Europe Weather

Cormorants standing on the banks of the frozen Sava river in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Hundreds of people have died across Europe an...

APTOPIX Switzerland Europe Weather

In this photo Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 photo people stand next to a natural ice sculpture that was formed after the wind blew waves over the boardwalk ...

Germany Europe Weather

People enjoy the frozen lake Alster in Hamburg, northern Germany, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. A cold spell has reached Europe with temperatures plumm...

Romania Europe Weather

The crew of a border patrol ship waits as their boat is freed from frozen Danube waters by an ice breaker, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, F...

Romania Europe Weather

A pelican flies above partially frozen Danube waters in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Bulgaria and Romania are suspending all s...

Romania Europe Weather

Partially frozen Danube waters are seen at sunset, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, 2012, back dropped by the Bulgarian bank of...

Romania Europe Weather

A crew members of an old ice breaker helps to free the ship from frozen Danube waters, near the bank, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8...

Romania Europe Weather

A crew member of an ice breaker ship, watches a border patrol ship as it is freed from frozen Danube waters, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday,...

Romania Europe Weather

A man walks on the deck of an ice breaker ship, trying to free itself from frozen Danube waters, in Giurgiu, southern Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 201...

At least four Balkan nations suspended shipping on the Danube River because of severe frost and the vast amount of ice blocking the heavily traveled waterway.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Serbia made the decision because up to 90 percent of the river's surface is covered with floating ice, authorities said Wednesday.
The conditions are making it extremely difficult to traverse Europe's main commercial waterway, which winds 2,860-kilometer (1,777-mile) from Germany and serves as the natural border between Bulgaria and Romania.
Europe has been battling a deep freeze that started in late January and has killed hundreds, snow that has trapped thousands in Balkan mountain villages and prompted worries of flooding as heavy snow melts. In Greece and Bulgaria, flooding on Monday and Tuesday left dozens of homes under water and at least eight dead.
Serbian emergency officials have said the country's army will use explosives to break up ice on the Danube and Ibar rivers to try to prevent flooding.
The Sava and the Danube are partially frozen, with large chunks of ice floating down the two rivers. In some parts, ice on the Danube is 15 centimeters (nearly six inches) thick, but so far it hasn't jeopardized the work of Serbia's biggest Djerdap hydropower plant, near the Romanian border, officials said.
Serbia also banned any shipping along the Sava and Tisa rivers. An official, Milos Milovanovic said "the entire Sava river is blocked with ice, even around Belgrade.
"We will make maximum effort in the next 10 days or so to break the ice," he said.
The fear is the rivers could overflow because of the ice, and jeopardize the work of the hydro-power plants.
Elsewhere, strong wind knocked over power lines and left tens of thousands without electricity in Bosnia, potentially for the next several days.
Half of the town of Mostar, Bosnia's second largest city, is without power and snow piled some 2 1/2 feet (80 centimeters) is preventing teams from dealing with the problem, government spokesman Pero Pavlovic said.
People in Mostar fell into a "shopping hysteria", emptying shelves and in some cases getting into fist fights over flour, he said.
The Polish Interior Ministry said Wednesday that six more people died as a result of the freezing weather. It also called on people be careful when using coal heaters, reporting that one person died of asphyxiation. The temperatures in the country fell at times to minus 32 C (minus 26 F).
In Bulgaria, the government declared Wednesday a day of mourning for eight people who died after torrential rains and melting snow caused a dam to burst, flooding an entire village. Two people are missing and rescue operations were ongoing.
Dike reinforcement materials and heated tents for flood victims and rescuers have to be supplied, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid Kristalina Georgieva said after visiting the flooded areas. She warned that the freezing weather may be followed by a harsh spring bringing major floods, and people should be prepared for that.
Poland and Italy immediately responded to Bulgaria's request for aid to flood victims, Georgieva said, and added that the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark also have stated their readiness to help.
The U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria has requested the U.S. Agency for International Development to approve $50,000 in funds for the Bulgarian Red Cross to aid those affected by the flooding.
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Aida Cerkez in Sarajevo, Bosnia; Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland; and Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-16 17:50 GMT+08:00