Military planes flew in tons of emergency food today to towns and villages in eastern Romania, where thousands have been stranded. Some people were cutting tunnels through up to 15 feet of snow to get out of their homes. Since the end of January, Eastern Europe has been pummeled by the heaviest snowfall in recent memory and a record-setting cold snap. Hundreds of people, many of them homeless, have died and tens of thousands of others have been trapped by blocked roads inside homes with little heat. Authorities declared an alert today in eastern Romania, where 6,000 people have been cut off for days. About a dozen major roads were closed, 300 trains canceled and more than 1,000 schools shut down.
In addition to the food flights, the defense ministry said 8,000 soldiers were clearing roads across Romania and helping people trapped by the snow, which was up to 15 feet (four meters) high in some eastern parts. Authorities said the death toll in Romania was up to 74.