Jan.08 - Temperatures dive in Greece with snow blanketing the country and even falling over the Acropolis in Athens, in the first fall of the winter. (Rough cut - no reporter narration)
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(Rough cut - no reporter narration)
The sudden cold spell sent authorities scrambling to protect the ever increasing homeless in the capital.
Late on Monday (January 7) when the temperatures began plummeting, municipal workers were out in force handing out blankets and food to the many sleeping on the street.
Authorities tried to coax the homeless to come to temporary shelters that have been set up in gymnasiums and community centres, but those who refused were given the extra blankets and were monitored by the workers.
Since the economic crisis in Greece began late in 2009, aid agencies and government authorities estimate the homeless population has increased by 25 to 30 percent, with almost 60 percent due to financial reasons.
The city of Athens and other municipalities have now put in place projects for taking care of these homeless, which include emergency measures when cold winter temperatures strike, including opening temporary shelters for them to sleep at night or providing food, clothes and blankets.
The severe cold spell in Greece was sudden, with temperatures overnight dropping at least five degrees celsius and accompanied by biting cold winds.
In northern Athens temperatures showed five degrees Celsius, while in northern Greece temperatures were at -10 degrees and expected to fall further to -13 degrees Celsius later in the day. Civil protection authorities were out in force dealing with the consequences of the heavy snowfall in the country.
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