Freezing Weather Blocks Danube, European Waterways

Europe is still coping with freezing temperatures and snow, and CNN is reporting that the icy weather is closing much of the Danube River to shipping and disrupting travel across the region.

Central and Eastern Europe have borne the brunt of the unseasonably bitter weather, which has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of cases of frostbite and hypothermia.

In Ukraine, the worst-affected country, more than 100 people have died and more than 3,000 have sought hospital treatment.

State news agency Ukrinform said more than 120 ships were trapped in the Kerch Strait, linking the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea, because of ice.

Parts of the Danube River, one of the most important rivers in Europe for commerce and travel, have nearly frozen over for the first time in 25 years. That has led at least four countries to halt shipping along sections of the 1,700-mile-long waterway because of the risk of damage to vessels' hulls. The river is used for drinking water, irrigation and tourism.

The stretch of the Danube running through Romania has been closed indefinitely to traffic, Romanian state television network TVR reported Friday.

Photo courtesy of Sue Knox

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