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Unusual Cold Wave Across Asia Proves Deadly


Row boats sit stuck in the ice of the frozen coastal waters of Jiaozhou Bay in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province, Jan. 25, 2016.

A rare blast of winter weather has paralyzed much of eastern Asia, with temperatures falling to record lows in places accustomed to much warmer conditions.

A combination of snow, sleet and icy winds forced officials to cancel hundreds of flights and shut down schools, and left scores of people dead in Taiwan and Japan.

At least 60 people died in Taiwan, many of them in the capital, Taipei, and surrounding areas. Officials say many of the victims were elderly residents who succumbed to temperatures that dropped to 4 degrees Celsius Sunday, with heart trouble and hypothermia listed among the various causes of death. The Focus Taiwan news site says there were as many as 85 weather-related deaths across the island.

At least five people died in Japan due to heavy snow across the western and central regions.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of people had to be rescued from the territory's highest peak after freezing rain left roads icy and nearly impassible.