Geneva Airport Closes All Air Traffic After Heavy Snowfall

   •    01 Maret 2018 15:29 WIB
Snow Storm
Geneva Airport Closes All Air Traffic After Heavy Snowfall
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Geneva: The heavy snowfall lashing Europe forced Geneva airport to suspend all air traffic Thursday, with airport officials urging passengers to stay away.
"Because of the prevailing weather conditions, Geneva Airport is currently closed to air traffic until further notice," the airport said on its website, advising "passengers not to come to the airport for the time being."
Fresh heavy snowfalls and icy blizzards were expected to lash Europe as the region shivers in a deadly deep-freeze that has gripped countries from the far north to the Mediterranean south.
Schools are shut and weather agencies predict the brutal cold will continue as the death toll from the freezing snap rose to around 48 since last Friday, with icy conditions causing accidents and endangering vulnerable rough sleepers.
In the latest deaths, a 60-year-old man perished after falling into a lake in London, while an elderly Dutch skater plunged through cracked ice in the western village of Hank.
The victims also include 18 people killed in Poland, six in the Czech Republic, five in Lithuania, four each in France and Slovakia, two each in Italy, Serbia, Romania and Slovenia and one in Spain.
The Siberian cold front -- dubbed the "Beast from the East" in Britain, "Siberian bear" by the Dutch and the "snow cannon" by Swedes -- has blanketed huge swathes of the region in snow and played havoc with transport networks.
In Scotland, which saw Glasgow airport closed until Thursday morning and most flights cancelled from Edinburgh, emergency services struggled to help drivers stranded for hours on a major motorway, with images showing scores of vehicles trapped in the snow late Wednesday.
"This is a very difficult situation but everything possible is being done," Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter.
Further blasts of wintery weather are expected, with authorities in Ireland and normally-balmy southern France among those to have issued red alerts late Wednesday.
Homeless people account for many of the dead, and cities across Europe have been racing to open emergency shelters to protect people sleeping rough.
In Germany, the national homeless association urged shelters to open during the day and not just at night.
"You can die of cold during the day too," its chief Werena Rosenke warned.
Authorities are also urging people to look out for elderly relatives and neighbours after a French woman in her nineties was found frozen to death outside her retirement home. (AFP)