85 die in Taiwan as cold grips East-Asia
Unusually cold weather left as many 85 people dead in Taiwan. Sources revealed that most fatalities were elderly people who died of hypothermia and cardiovascular diseases because of a sudden drop in temperatures. Many houses in Taiwan were without central heating and people struggled to cope up with the temperature drop in Taipei, which fell to a 44-year low of 4°C (39°F).
The cold wave claimed 5 lives in Japan and led to closing of schools and parks in Hong Kong.
After Taiwan recorded elderly deaths, the Ministry of Health issued warnings for those with "reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease" to stay indoors and heat their homes to at least 18°C. Those with asthma were also advised to stay indoors as the cold would make it difficult to breathe.
Outside of Taiwan too, the temperature drop broke many records in East Asia. In southern Japan, the island of Okinawa saw sleet for the first time ever in history. The temperature in Hong Kong touched a 60 year low as residents shivered in 3°C. In southern China, parts of Guangzhou and Shenzhen witnessed snowfall, a rare phenomenon in these parts.
A 100 km ultra-marathon race was cancelled in Hong Kong as competitors crossing the city's tallest peak, Tai Mo Shan, slipped on icy slopes battered by freezing winds.
South Korea faced major problems because of the cold as more than 500 domestic and international flights were cancelled in Jeju "as the island, known for balmy weather and beaches, saw -6°C weather." Thousands of tourists were left scrambling for accommodation and transport. Large parts of Japan were also hit with snowstorms which led to the cancellation of more than 600 domestic flights.