Heavy snow and blizzard have taken Romania in their grip. Intervention teams are fully operational, but the situation is difficult all across the country.
In Bucharest, the National Meteorology Administration announced a few days ago that the country would be taken under assault by strong winds, heavy snowstorms and low visibility. Forecasts were right and now most of the country is now under orange or yellow code alert for heavy snow and blizzard. Six counties in the south-east are in a dire situation, and the code red warning has been activated for them.
The national highway linking Bucharest to Constanta has been closed, and now the county on the Black Sea coast is completely isolated. In many villages, thousands of households have no electricity or running water, and the situation is getting worse by the hour. Authorities have urged citizens to avoid traveling, unless necessary. Because of the blizzard, dozens of train trips have been cancelled and all news stations are displaying footages of long rows of cars stranded in the snow. Lots of flights have been delayed and the Mihail Kogalniceanu airport in Constanta County was closed. Also, the ports on the Black Sea have been closed, where the storm has reached level 8, with 9-meter high waves.
Road traffic has been resumed in the areas where the weather has got milder, but there are still restrictions in place for trucks weighing more than 7.5 tones. Pregnant women in the third trimester and patients needing dialysis were taken to hospitals before the weather got bad, in order to avoid the situation of the previous years, when helicopters were needed to save the seriously ill patients stranded in the snow. Firefighters say that more than 640 people suffering from various diseases and 170 pregnant women have been evacuated from the areas affected by heavy snowing and taken to medical units to get proper care. Intervention teams are operating to unblock the roads, but heavy snows and powerful winds hamper their activity.
In Bucharest, fire fighters have even had to intervene and remove tress felled by the blizzard. On Thursday night, the capital was under code orange alert and no less then 700 calls were made to the Ambulance Services, all of which were solved, despite difficulties. 60 homeless people were taken either to hospital or to municipality shelters.
(Translated by Mihaela Ignatescu)