Photo: AP/Darko Vojinovic
Just when citizens of Eastern Europe were breathing a sigh of relief that the cold front was coming to an end, the warmer weather has brought a new set of problems.The Danube river, which had frozen over in the cold snap, has now begun to thaw, leading dislodged slabs of melting ice (some as big as 1.6 feet) to crash into and sink boats and barges anchored on the river, causing hundreds of thousands of euros in damage, Spiegel Online reports.
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, has been one of the hardest hit: ice floes managed to sink the city’s most popular floating restaurant, a popular tourist attraction, although no injuries have been reported.
Officials are now trying to determine if the thaw will cause more heavy flooding, bringing more misery to a region where more than 600 have already died because of the extreme cold. Some 3,300 people remain stranded by deep snow that hit remote areas of southern Serbia and they can only be reached by helicopters, Serbian emergency official Predrag Maric told the AP.
The United Nations has issued a flood warning to Eastern European countries along the Danube, according to the AP.
The 1,777-mile-long Danube river is one of Europe’s busiest waterways. A thick layer of ice formed over it during the cold snap in the first half of February, making it unusable for ships and other water transport.
On Monday, US military helicopters evacuated people from parts of Montenegro that were cut off from the rest of the country because of heavy snow. Upstream in Germany, parts of the river are still frozen and shipping traffic is still at a standstill.
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