Efrem Lukatsky, Associated Press
An Orthodox Christian cathedral in winter landscape in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. Ukraine's Emergency Situations Ministry said 18 people died of hypothermia and nearly 500 people sought medical help for frostbites and hypothermia in just three days last week. Heavy snow and a severe cold snap have killed at least 36 people across eastern Europe and many areas were under emergency measures Monday as schools closed down, roads became impassible and power supplies were cut off.

KIEV, Ukraine — Thirty people, most of them homeless, have died of hypothermia in recent days in Ukraine, part of a surge of deaths across eastern Europe as the region grapples with an unusually severe cold spell.

In all, at least 54 people have died from the cold in Europe over the last week.

Of the victims in Ukraine, 21 were found frozen on the streets, five died in hospitals and four died in their own homes, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova.

Temperatures plunged to minus 23 C (minus 10 F) in the capital of Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine, as schools and nurseries closed down and authorities set up hundreds of heated tents with hot tea and sandwiches for the homeless.

Kiev city administration head Oleksandr Popov ordered city schools and colleges closed beginning Wednesday through the end of the week, as temperatures are expected to drop to minus 28 C (minus 18 F).

"They will be on a break at least until Monday," Popov said on his website.

In Poland, five people died of hypothermia in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the cold to 15 in the last four days, the national police said.

Temperatures sunk Tuesday to minus 27 C (minus 17 F) in the southeastern Polish city of Ustrzyki Gorne — and forecasts predicted minus 29 C (minus 20 F) in the region overnight.

In Russia, one person died late Monday of the cold in Moscow, where temperatures fell to minus 21 C, the city's health department said. The Russian Emergencies Ministry is not reporting deaths across the country yet.


Monika Scislowska from Warsaw, Poland, and Nataliya Vasilyeva from Moscow contributed to this report.