Unusually cold weather kills more than 60 in eastern Asia

Unusually cold weather in eastern Asia has been blamed for more than 60 deaths, disrupting transportation and bringing the first snow to a subtropical city in southern China in almost 50 years.

Temperatures in Taiwan’s capital Taipei plunged to a 16-year low of 4C (39F), killing 57 mostly elderly people.

Most homes in subtropical Taiwan lack central heating and the cold caused heart trouble and shortness of breath for many of the victims, a city official said.

Normally, temperatures in Taipei hover around 16C (60F) in January, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.

The cold snap was blamed for the deaths of 40 people in Taipei, while neighbouring New Taipei City attributed an additional 17 deaths to the cold weather.

Strokes and hypothermia were among the causes of death in New Taipei City, officials said.

The cold front also left 9cm (3.5in) of snow on Taipei’s highest peak and stranded vehicles as people headed into the mountains to see the snow.

In central and western Japan, heavy snow left at least five people dead.

The heavy snow stranded motorists, delayed bullet train services and caused flight cancellations to and from the region.

Most parts of mainland China also experienced their coldest weather in decades over the weekend.


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