SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Bosnia’s government declared a state of emergency in its capital on Saturday after Sarajevo was paralyzed by snow, while in Rome residents dug out from the city’s biggest snowfall in 26 years, which shut down the Colosseum.
The weeklong cold snap – the worst in decades in Eastern Europe – has killed at least 176 people, many of them homeless, especially in countries such as Ukraine.
In Rome, unusually heavy snow capped the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Roman Forum’s ancient arches. It toppled trees, sending some crashing onto empty parked cars. Up to 8 inches had fallen in some neighborhoods, making buses and taxis scarce and stranding some motorists for hours.
About 4,000 government-issued shovels were handed out in several main piazzas to Romans trying to clear their streets before a forecast nighttime freeze.
In Sarajevo, more than 3 feet of snow fell on Saturday, closing roads and public transportation.
Some neighborhoods reported water shortages, and residents struggled to make it to local shops to stock up on food. Several people said they witnessed fistfights in shops over loaves of bread.
But the crisis also produced camaraderie.
In one area of central Sarajevo, men shoveling the deep snow were being given tea, coffee and hamburgers and meatballs that local women had barbecued. One elderly man who didn’t know how to help out stood at an open window of his house playing his clarinet.