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Emergency declared as Serbia shivers under snow

Strong winds and snow drifts snarled traffic in Serbia on Friday, prompting local officials to declare a state of emergency and deploy military helicopters to rescue stranded travellers.

BELGRADE: Strong winds and snow drifts snarled traffic in Serbia on Friday, prompting local officials to declare a state of emergency and deploy military helicopters to rescue stranded travellers.

Heavy trucks were banned from the roads in northern Vojvodina province and the border with neighbouring Romania, Croatia and Hungary was closed to freight traffic.

Predrag Maric, head of the emergency services, said bulldozers were deployed to clear a road leading out of Belgrade where more than 100 cars became stuck in snowdrifts

So far, some 24 people have been evacuated, while another 20 were still awaiting rescue.

Overnight, winds reaching speeds of more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) per hour hit the eastern and northeastern parts of Serbia. The strong winds were expected to continue over the weekend.

Navigation was also suspended along the river Danube in Serbia due to heavy winds and ice on its waters.

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