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Homeless people in Germany suffer deadliest winter in years

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At least 20 homeless people in Germany have died this winter amid particularly low temperatures and heavy snowfalls the homeless charity BAG Wohnungslosenhilfe reported.

The numbers continued to climb as many parts of the country experienced negative temperatures in the double digits. The number of deaths was the highest recorded since the winter of 1996 – 1997 when 25 homeless people died, the local newspaper Berliner Morgenpost reported.

Margit Kuhn (R) and Herbert Szukalsky (L) of German Red Cross dispense hot tea to a homeless person in Berlin, Germany. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

The manager of the Wohnungslosenhilfe charity, Werena Rosenke, told the Berliner Morgenpost that “they froze to death in the open, under bridges, on park benches, in doorways, under tarpaulin, in tents and other makeshift shelters.”

Rosenke explained that the particularly cold winter was exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Many homeless people, some of whom are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infections, avoid homeless shelters for fear of catching the virus. “These people expose themselves to the dangers of the cold outdoors,” Rosecke explained.

Margit Kuhn (2-L) and Herbert Szukalsky (3-L) of German Red Cross talk to a homeless person that sits, wrapped in blankets, at a bus stop in Berlin, Germany. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

A police patrol patrol in Nuremberg discovered a 20-year-old homeless woman with a newborn baby sleeping outdoors in temperatures of minus 15 degrees Celsius (-5 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday morning, various news agencies reported.

Main Photo: Margit Kuhn (R) and Herbert Szukalsky (C) of German Red Cross talk to homeless Mario (L) in Berlin, Germany. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

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