By February 5th, the number of hypothermia victims in Hungary has risen to 122 since the cold days of last September.
In the last twenty days, 27 people have died, most of them having lived in unheated flats – announced the Sunday statement of the Hungarian Social Forum (MSZF).
According to the aggregated data of the Hungarian Social Forum, by the end of January, 89 people had frozen to death in Hungary since October of last year.
The Human Rights Forum previously reported that 54 people died in hypothermia by the end of December, so the latest figure means 35 people have died in the first month of the year.
As stated in the April report of the MSZF, 175 people froze to death in the winter of 2019-2020. By comparison, it also reported the latest data from the Central Statistical Office that in 2019, 193 people lost their lives due to a freezing cold throughout the year.
According to the Social Forum, nearly 9,000 people have been frozen to death since the regime change. The Forum has identified the main cause of loss of life as homelessness due to mass evictions, lack of social rental housing, neglect of health and social care, especially care for the elderly and impoverished.
In mid-January, due to the great cold, Miklós Kásler, head of the Ministry of Human Resources, ordered the issuance of a so-called red code to protect homeless people’s lives. Still, Miklós Vecsei, vice-president of the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, also specifically warned that in recent years, the majority of victims had died in their own unheated houses.
As we wrote before, state secretary for social affairs Attila Fülöp stated during a press conference, that the “red code” alert requires any residential care institution to accommodate homeless people if the network of homeless shelters fills up, more details HERE.
According to the MSZF, which regularly follows the data on death by cold, most of the hypothermia cases have taken place in unheated premises or during the transit of victims to the hospital because of their inability to save them. Further deaths have occurred under the open sky, although many of those living outdoors were rescued, but having had their frozen limbs amputated.
In the opinion of the MSZF, homelessness could be eliminated within a year, and the social network for the care of the elderly could be strengthened. Thus the two main causes of frost death (lack of housing and homelessness) could be eliminated if there was a political motivation to do so. “Since it doesn’t exist, frost deaths are reaping en masse this year as well.”- can be read on the latest report of the MSZF.
“Since it doesn’t exist, frost deaths are reaping en masse this year as well.”- can be read on the latest report of the MSZF.
The number of deaths has increased in the countryside, but this number has decreased in Budapest, which can be explained by the fact that the social care of homeless people has been noticeably strengthened in the capital, and measures have been taken to protect the lives of the older adults living alone.
Although there are fewer cases of hypothermia than a year ago, the phenomenon is still massive due to evictions, neglect of social housing, and inadequate care for the elderly- stated the Human Rights Forum, asking everyone to pay close attention to the lonely and sick elderly for the rest of the winter.
Read more here about the state of homeless people in Hungary:
Source: Hungarian Social Forum