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Europe's Death Toll From Cold Climbs to 200

January 15, 1987|Associated Press

LONDON — Hungry wolf packs scavenged near Czechoslovakian villages, Soviet tanks pulled drivers from six-foot snowdrifts and soldiers were called out to clear the streets as Europe remained paralyzed today by snow and cold blamed for at least 200 deaths this month.

British travelers were urged to stay home because some roads were buried under snow. In France, churches opened to shelter the homeless. In Austria, 28 members of a military band suffered frostbite after playing outdoors.

Temperatures dipped to 27 degrees today in Dublin, 23 degrees in Copenhagen, 12 degrees in Stockholm, 9 degrees in Vienna and zero in Helsinki.

France closed nine airports and Italy closed five due to snow or ice.

Death Near Berlin Wall

Among the deaths were 10 from exposure, in Hungary, and a 79-year-old West German woman who wandered from a home for the elderly and was found frozen near the Berlin Wall.

London's Daily Telegraph newspaper said Soviet tanks based in Hungary plowed through deep snow to rescue motorists, mostly Austrians and West Germans, after their cars ran into snowdrifts en route to Budapest.

"We had no fuel left and had given up hope when we heard a noise like thunder," the newspaper quoted an Austrian motorist as saying.

The Czechoslovak newspaper Rude Pravo said hungry wolf packs have been driven by the bitter cold to scavenge near isolated communities in search of food, including cattle and geese.

Roads, Rail Links Impassable

Many British roads and rail links were impassable. A notice at London's Charing Cross railroad station warned travelers: "There is very little chance of anyone reaching their intended destination and even less chance of them getting back again. Anyone who does insist on traveling does so entirely at their own risk."

In France, Premier Jacques Chirac called in nearly 2,000 soldiers to help clear streets in Paris after the capital was blanketed by 5 1/2 inches of snow, the fourth-largest accumulation on record.

Paris, which usually gets only a dusting, has just two snowplows, and city workers began working with shovels and wheelbarrows to clear thoroughfares.

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