Eastern Europe facing cold snap, many homeless died in Ukraine

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KIEV, Ukraine — Dozens of homeless people have died in an Eastern Europe cold snap, and some analysts blame a Soviet-era legacy of viewing the homeless as those who need to be punished instead of helped.

Temperatures have plunged to -17 F in some areas. At least 58 people have died overall in the past week, while hundreds have sought medical help for hypothermia and frostbite.

Ukraine has been among the hardest hit countries. As many as 30 people have died on its snow-covered streets, in hospitals and in their own homes in the past four days. Authorities said most of the victims were homeless, and that some victims had been drinking and unaware of the danger.

In one village in the Cherkasy region in central Ukraine, a 44-year-old alcoholic fell asleep on the porch of her house and froze to death, said Olena Didyuk, spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry.