Facing the cold snap - Be ready to lend a hand

DURING her tour of areas hit by flooding this week, President McAleese warned that we must not turn our back on the families still enduring the consequences of the recent floods.

She also congratulated communities on their response to the disaster. The current cold snap may require a similar response, especially in regard to older people living in isolation, rural or urban.

A white Christmas may be alluring but the challenge posed by temperatures as low as -10C is significant, especially for those suffering from fuel poverty.

Though such cold is unusual, and ironic in the week after the Copenhagen conference on climate change, Ireland has escaped the very worst. In Poland nearly 50 people, mostly homeless, froze to death in December. Police said 15 people died on Saturday last.

Though we are unlikely to get the temperatures predicted for central Europe, -33C for Germany, we still should be aware of the threats posed to some people and do what we can to help. We should also heed warnings about the increased risks involved in out-door activities, especially hill walking, in theses conditions.


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