6 Jan 2013

Death toll rising as cold snap hits northern India

7:40 am on 6 January 2013

At least another 20 people have died in northern India as the result of unusually cold temperatures.

The total death toll is about 130 people this winter.

The cold across northern India has been particularly severe. Just days ago, the capital Delhi saw its lowest maximum daily temperature for more than four decades, the BBC reports.

Dense fog and icy winds are adding to the misery and disrupting transport links.

The elderly and the homeless are amongst the most vulnerable.

Last winter, India's Supreme Court ordered the country's state authorities to provide adequate night shelters during the winter to protect the homeless from bitter temperatures.

But some reports in the Indian media this year suggest that there is still far too few shelters available.

China temperatures plunge

People are also shivering in China, where temperatures have plunged to their lowest in almost three decades - cold enough to freeze coastal waters and trap 1000 ships in ice.

Since late November 2012, the average temperature in northern China has been minus 3.8 degrees Celsius.