Snowfalls spark aid for homeless

Winter arrives early as Météo France warns of snowfalls across the country and mayors prepare to deal with 100,000 homel

25 November 2010

SNOW arrived across a large part of the country today, from Alsace to Poitou-Charentes, moving south and east during the day.

Sleety rain and snow is expected to continue over the next few days, and mayors and prefectures have launched measures to cope with the estimated 100,000 homeless people.

Housing secretary Benoist Apparu said the lodgings plan for the prefectures was aimed to provide support throughout the winter. He wants to repeat the efforts of last year and leave “zero demand uncovered”.

As charity Emmaüs said there were more homeless women and children this year, Paris opened its first 50-bed hostel at the Gymnase des Invalides. A second hostel will open this afternoon and there will be six in total, against five last year.

The city has also signed a deal with SNCF to provide shelter and information for homeless people discovered in its stations. The Samu Social, pompiers and city council staff will help any homeless who have not found shelter.

Météo France said the wintry weather was earlier than normal and a month earlier than last year. It warned that temperatures would be an average four degrees colder than the seasonal average and said there could be snowfalls of up to five centimetres across the country, although the Côte d’Azur should escape.

The early winter weather is the result of a large depression across Europe that has sunk from Scandinavia, where daytime temperatures have been as low as -10C. It comes with strong north to north-west winds, increasing the wind-chill factor.

Check the Météo France map

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