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Deep freeze hits eastern Europe

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images

A girls run next to a dam as covered with ice as sea water is frozen in Constanta, east of Bucharest, on Feb. 1. Temperatures plunged in central Romania, eight people died due to cold related causes according to local media.

Sergei Supinsky / AFP - Getty Images

A girl with masked face walks in the centre of Kiev during on February 1. Forty-three have died of hypothermia in the Ukraine over the past six days as the country has suffered a severe spell of cold weather, the emergency services ministry said Wednesday. Most were homeless people who froze to death on the streets, while seven were found dead in their homes, and more than 800 people sought medical help for frostbite and hypothermia.

Michael Dalder / Reuters

A man walks below a frost covered Wendelstein church, Germany's highest church, on the 6030 foot high Wendelstein mountain near Bayrischzell on Feb. 1. Temperatures down to 7 degrees have hit parts of southern Germany in the last few days.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

A Ukrainian man, covered with plastic sheeting to form a tent for protection from the wind and cold, fishes through an ice hole on the Dnipro river outside Cherkasy, central Ukraine. The death toll from a severe cold spell in Eastern Europe rose to over 71 Wednesday, most of them homeless people. Temperatures dropped tominus 22 F in some regions, causing power outages and traffic chaos and prompting authorities to close schools and nurseries.

 From msnbc.com news services:

BELGRADE, Serbia — Rescue helicopters evacuated dozens of people from snow-blocked villages in Serbia and Bosnia and airlifted in emergency food and medicine as a severe cold spell kept Eastern Europe in its icy grip.

The death toll from the cold rose to 79 on Wednesday and emergency crews worked overtime as temperatures sank to minus 26.5 F in some areas.

Europe had enjoyed a relatively mild winter up until last weekend, but an Arctic system swinging in from the east brought that to an abrupt halt.

Click here to read more about the dangerous cold snap in Eastern Europe.