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Ukraine Cold Snap Kills 38 in 24 Hours

Biting cold temperatures of minus 26 degrees Celsius have brought the winter death toll in Ukraine to 101.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/3/2012, 12:33 PM

Ukraine Cold
Ukraine Cold
A7 Staff

Arutz Sheva's Russian-language bureau reported Friday that 38 people have died in the last 24 hours due to the intense cold that prevails in Ukraine.

These most recent deaths bring the winter death toll in Ukraine to 101. Of those, 11 people died in the hospital, 64 in the streets and 26 in private homes. Most of the victims were homeless.

Arutz Sheva's Ukraine correspondent reported temperatures had recently plummeted to 29 degrees below zero, "Its very hard to walk down the street, and very dangerous to walk with bare hands. Just a few seconds can cause health damage," he said.

Local media reported hundreds of people have sought medical care due to frostbite and hypothermia over the past three days. Over the same period, more than 17,000 people reported needing shelter. Ukrainian authorities have erected 1,500 pre-fab shelters thus far, but more are said to be needed.

In one case it was reported a man who drank too much and fell asleep on a park bench woke up a few hours later with no feeling in his hands and feet. Medical officials say he apparently he suffered "flash gangrene" and required an extensive series of medical treatments before he could walk again.

Ukraine has 2,940 public housing complexes with heating systems. The government said it plans to build more "in the public interest."

Poland had led the region for the coldest temperature and most cold-related deaths prior to Ukraine's temperature suddenly dropping to 26 degrees below zero.

Author’s note: I am unfamiliar with the term 'flash gangrene,' which may be a local slang term in translation. However, cold gangrene (pathology) is a gangrene that develops in the presence of arterial obstruction and is characterized by dryness of the dead tissue and a dark brown color. It can have a rapid onset in extreme cold temperatures.