Denmark: Brutal week for homeless expected

CopenhagenPost 07 January 2010

Double digit freezing temperatures and extraordinary wind chill factors one the way across the country

Forecasts of icy weather have dampened the New Year spirits of many Danes, but their discomfort pales in comparison to those of the people living on the streets.

With temperatures predicted to remain under freezing for at least another week – and falling to a chilly -13C on Friday – humanitarian organisations are expressing grave concerns over the fate of the homeless.

Just before Christmas, two homeless men froze to death, one in the Jutland town of Horsens and the other in the northern Jutland town of Skagen. Low temperatures from 20-22 December hovered around -11C in the Copenhagen area and got down to -15C in mid-Jutland.

Wind chills are expected to make the weather feel even colder with strong winds predicted from the northeast.

Although there’s a large number of shelters and night-time warm-up rooms across the country, many homeless people simply do not want to take advantage of the offer, according to the Salvation Army’s Lars Lydholm.

‘The most vulnerable group of homeless are those who don’t want to be registered anywhere or who the system can’t help because they’re foreigners,’ he said.

Danish humanitarian organisation Kirkens Korshær points to Africans living illegally in Denmark as being especially vulnerable to the unfamiliar arctic temperatures.

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