Sat, Jan 23, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Low temperatures possible cause of deaths

By Hsiao Ting-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Ten people died overnight in New Taipei City, but the city’s fire department yesterday said it was unable to confirm if the deaths were related to low temperatures.

Emergency services were called to help the 10, who were described as middle-aged to elderly, but all died, the department said.

None of the cases involved homeless people, it said, adding that the causes of death would have to be determined by doctors.

The weather in northern Taiwan has been cold and mostly wet over the past few days. The moisture in the air tends to intensify the cold, affecting people more intensely than actual temperatures indicate.

There are concerns that an approaching cold front, said to be the strongest to hit the nation in 10 years, is likely to claim more lives, and elderly people and the homeless are at greatest risk.

The Central Weather Bureau forecasts temperatures of less than 10°C throughout the nation early today, with temperatures likely dropping to 10-year lows in many areas.

In related news, the Taipei City Animal Protection Office is calling on members of the public to donate blankets, towels or bed sheets to help animals at the city shelter this winter.

The office said that the Neihu Animal Shelter has 223 dogs and 105 cats, and relies on donated towels and other items to keep the animals warm.

It is asking for more donations due to fears that it would not be able to dry enough items after washing them.

Office staff Chen Wen-te (陳文德) said that some animals seek shelter under engine hoods or by car tires to keep warm.

Last year, the office received 39 calls for help to move animals from these places, he said.

Chen called on members of the public to be aware if they notice strange sounds in their cars and if need be, call the office for help.

He added that it was standard procedure for the office to take in strays to keep them warm once the bureau announces temperatures below 15°C.

The office spreads canvas tarps around the cages to keep out the wind, as well as turns on the central heating system to maintain an average temperature of 20°C.

The same is done for kittens and puppies, with the addition of heat lamps or kerosene stoves nearby to keep them warm, the office said.

The office reminded the public not to donate any clothing with cotton padding as animals tend to destroy the fabric.

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