Record cold snap catches East Asia off guard; dozens killed in Taiwan

A sudden cold snap through East Asia has left dozens dead, multiple news reports said Monday.

The worst-affected region was Taiwan, where at least 85 people died over the weekend as temperatures sank to record lows, news reports said.

Many of the deaths were caused by hypothermia or cardiac problems triggered by the sudden onset of cold weather, the state-run Central News Agency reported, quoting fire safety authorities.

Taipei City reached 4 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the lowest temperature recorded in 44 years, the country's Central Weather Bureau reported.

All but one of the weather bureau's monitoring stations showed record-low temperatures over the weekend, it said Monday.

In northern China, the weather dropped by 10 degrees to 13 degrees Celsius over the weekend, while central and eastern China saw temperatures edge 6-8 degrees lower than the average historical level.

Residents in Hong Kong, more accustomed to the territory's subtropical climate, faced cold sleet and strong winds on Sunday as temperatures dropped to freezing.

More than 111 people in Hong Kong have been injured in weather-related accidents, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

They were mostly curious hikers who had ventured up mountain paths to glimpse rare sights of ice and frost. At least 45 people were hospitalized, suffering from hypothermia as well as sprains.

In South Korea, southern Jeju airport reopened Monday after shutting down for nearly two days due to the heavy snow, Yonhap news agency reported.

Nearly 90,000 people were stranded as a result of the closure at the major airport, with some 1,400 reportedly staying in the terminal overnight.

Western Japan continued to see unusual amounts of snow which disrupted transport and led to rare scenes in Japan such as about 110 passengers sleeping on a bullet train overnight, Kyodo News Agency reported.

Last update: Mon, 25/01/2016 - 13:32

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