Wednesday, February 1, 2012


London (CNN) - Eastern Europe shivered Tuesday in the coldest conditions seen this winter, with below-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall leading to deaths, frostbite and widespread travel disruption. Ukraine and Poland are among the worst affected countries, with lows in Kiev and Warsaw of -17 and -16 degrees Celsius (1 and 3 degrees Fahrenheit) respectively, far lower than the average for this time of year. Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Ministry said 30 people have died as a result of the cold since Friday. 21 of the dead were homeless people, whose bodies were discovered on the streets and four died in their homes. More than 600 people had sought treatment for frostbite and hypothermia over the past 5 days, with more than 500 of those treated in the hospital. Thousands of people have sought refuge at government-run shelters as the temperatures have plummeted.

About 1,590 heated tents operating across the country are offering warmth, tea and hot meals to those in need. Another 150 are due to be set up shortly. Meanwhile, schools and colleges in Kiev have canceled classes until Monday because of the cold, city authorities said. In Poland, the interior ministry urged people to look out for the elderly and homeless, saying temperatures were set to drop further as the week goes on, especially at night. Romania and Bulgaria were among the first Eastern European nations to be affected by cold and heavy snow. In Slovakia, a 63-year-old man was found dead outside his house in the northern village of Sunava on Monday, the Slovak news agency SITA reported. In Serbia, one person has died and two are missing after heavy snowfall in the territory of Uzice. Travel and electricity supplies have been disrupted, and a state of emergency has been declared in a number of districts.

Ukrainian officials say the death toll from a severe cold spell that has hit Eastern Europe has risen to 43 people, most of them homeless. Over 600 others were hospitalized with hypothermia and frostbite. Temperatures dropped to minus 30 C (minus 22 F) prompting authorities to close schools and nurseries and causing power outages and blocked traffic. Knowing that these environmental conditions are cyclical, we should tolerate them as part of our karma and learn to do the best with what we have.

Krishna strongly suggested that Arjuna should take the noble path of tolerance in relation to the dualities of hot and cold, etc., knowing them to be mere fluctuations of the mind. ... Material happiness invariably turns to unhappiness in its absence. Thus one should tolerate both happiness and distress knowing them to be one and the same in the ultimate issue. From a world of apparent variety one must learn to identify with its underlying unity. Srimad-Bhagavatam teaches us further about tolerance. Not only is tolerance necessary if we are to distinguish ourselves from the body and mind, it is also required if we are to know God. One who acknowledges that his happiness and distress in life are that which he is due-his prarabdha karma-and thus tolerates these two, is the rightful heir to the kingdom of God.

Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
“Tolerance: the Ornament of the Saints”
Śrī Caitanya Sanga - Vol. I, No. 3 - October 30, 2003  -

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