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New ideas to aid homeless emerge as cold snap persists

New initiatives to help homeless people shelter from the cold have emerged - including a pop-up “igloo” by a Bordeaux inventor - as the country continues to shiver in sub-zero temperatures.

Various alternative options to help those on the streets have been explored across the country, reports news source 20 Minutes.

These include a pop-up polyethylene and aluminium “igloo”, created by Bordeaux inventor Geoffroy de Reynal, which allows inhabitants to warm up by 15°C once inside; and an old refrigerator van in Nantes, which has been transformed into a “dormitory on wheels” with several bunk beds open to those in need.

In Marseille, a house designed to be “portable and independent” - with its own solar panels for energy - has enabled an otherwise-homeless family to move in.

In Alsace, an online group has also been set up to distribute tents and hot stoves; while in Strasbourg, teachers have even been offering accommodation in their own houses for any homeless students.

The initiatives come as France has seen temperatures dip far below 0°C this week, as a weather front from Siberia - dubbed the “Moscou-Paris” - has brought snow and freezing winds of up to 80kph.

Some areas have felt as cold as -12°C and below.

Even coastal areas and Mediterranean zones have been bitterly cold, with snow affecting Nice airport and the French Riviera.

The Grand Froid protocol, which is enacted to help homeless people during extended periods of cold weather, has opened 5,344 extra shelter places in 68 departments.

Yet, many reportedly continue to stay outdoors, and have either not wanted, or not been able, to find somewhere indoors to sleep.

An estimated 20 people have been found dead due to conditions across Europe in the past four days.

In France, confirmed homeless deaths have included a 35-year-old man in Valencia (Drôme), a 62-year-old man in Yvelines, and a 53-year-old man in Grésy-sur-Aix (Savoie).

Currently, 17 departments in the North East continue to be on Orange alert for snow and ice.

Temperatures are beginning to rise, with an average of 3-5°C, but icy rain is still causing alarm.

Météo France has warned residents in the affected departments to continue to be very careful on the roads and when leaving the house.

Drivers are warned to take provisions in their cars in case they get stuck, and to only go out when absolutely necessary.

The departments on alert are:
Aisne (02), Ardennes (08), Doubs (25), Marne (51), Haute-Marne (52), Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Meuse (55), Moselle (57), Nord (59), Oise (60), Pas-de-Calais (62), Bas-Rhin (67), Haut-Rhin (68), Haute-Saône (70), Somme (80), Vosges (88) and Territoire-de-Belfort (90).

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