BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Thousands of Romania's coal miners volunteered on Tuesday to donate some of their food to help feed people in areas buried in snow as deep as 15 feet (4.5 meters).
Helicopters already are rushing to 150 communities in Romania that have been cut off to deliver food and pick up sick people who need hospital treatment. Officials said five Romanians died in the past 24 hours due to frigid temperatures, bringing the total to 79 weather-related deaths since the nation's cold spell began.
Neighboring Moldova also has been hard hit by snow, and both countries have seen schools, borders, highways and train services shut down in some areas as temperatures plunged to -9 Fahrenheit (-23 Celsius) overnight there.
Adrian Vlaicu, a spokesman for the Romanian rail network CFR, said 413 trains have been canceled due to heavy snow on the lines.
On Tuesday, about 4,000 Romanian coal miners volunteered to buy tins of food from the money the company gives them for hot meals and donate that to the worst-affected victims in eastern Romania.
Since the end of January, Eastern Europe has been pummeled by a record-breaking cold snap and the heaviest snowfall in recent memory. Hundreds of people, many of them homeless, have died and tens of thousands of residents have been snowed in across the region.
But the worst affected areas of Europe are now in Romania and Moldova.