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Cold Weather Kills 129 in Poland

December 16, 2001

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Harsh winter weather has killed 129 people across Poland, about one-quarter of them members of the country’s burgeoning homeless population, police said Sunday. Many other victims froze to death on the way home after drinking.

Nighttime temperatures have dropped to as low as minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the country.

``Most victims are men about 40 years old, whose bodies were found between a place they drank alcohol and the place they live,″ said national police spokesman Marcin Szyndler.

Every day, Polish police pick up about 200 people lying drunk in the streets and at bus stops and detain them until they sober up.

Unemployment and homelessness have increased since the end of communism in 1989, and alcohol abuse is a long-standing problem in Poland.

Police reported 112 cold-related deaths during last year’s relatively mild winter.

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