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Event: CW Cold Wave
Number: 2017-000005
Country: BLR Belarus
Date (YMD): 2017-1-17
Information Source:IFRC
Comments: A sharp cold snap (Cyclone Axel) hit Belarus on 5 January 2017, with heavy snowfalls accompanied by frost and strong wind. Temperatures dropped down to 25?29 degrees Celsius below zero, and in some places even to 31?34 degrees. The country's meteorological service issued an orange weather warning. Invasion of cold arctic air masses from the north of European Russia followed on 6 January. Many of Belarusian citizens, especially homeless, were unprepared to severe frosts and snowfalls. Within one night, snow layers reached up to 18?22 cm. Snow caused a large number of road accidents, including those with intercity buses, leaving the drivers and travellers stranded for hours on highways. In addition, the wind was 19?22 meters per second according to the Belarusian hydro?meteorological centre. According to the data reported on 11 January 2017, it is estimated that 539 people (including 31 children) were traumatized and 10 died of hypothermia. All six regions of Belarus, Vitebsk, Minsk, Gomel, Grodno, Brest and Mogilev regions, and Minsk city have been affected by extreme winter conditions. The cyclone has considerably affected the most vulnerable people, in particular those who had to be out in the open air for a long time, the homeless and elderly people in remote areas with disruptions in heating as well as Orthodox believers who attended Christmas Eve mass on 6-7 January. 10,000 people attended the mass in Minsk, 2,000 in Gomel, 2,000 in Mogilev, 1000 in Grodno, 1,500 in Vitebsk, and 500 in Brest.
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