Canadian Homeless Feel Brunt of Record Breaking Cold
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 4, 2014 1:29 PM EST
Canada's homeless are feeling more the brunt of the country's record-breaking cold weather and may have to cramp it out with others at local shelters at least until May.
CBC/Radio-Canada reported that Salvation Army, one of the local shelters in Hamilton, has opened its doors even to those who had misbehaved in the past. Not only that, the shelter this time even offered mattresses so people can still manage to sleep comfortably as the cold seeps through the hard pavement floors way into their backs.
Homeless men sleep by the entrance of a metro station in central Athens January 21, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
"The high winds were too much even for those who prefer to be on the street," Robert Ward from Salvation Army said.
The scenario at local shelters seem to last until May as Environment Canada has advised citizens to brace for more colder than normal temperatures for March and much of April.
On Monday, the Niagara Region Public Health and Lambton Public Health both issued a cold weather alert to respective citizens.
They urged residents to dress in layers and shield exposed areas from the wind such as head, neck and face. They also warned to limit the time spent outdoors to avoid frostbite and hypothermia during a cold weather alert.
"Even brief stretches of time spent outdoors can cause damage to exposed skin," Iqbal Kalsi, environmental health manager at the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), said.
Most at risk during extreme cold are the homeless, outdoor workers, infants under age one, adults 65 years of age or older, sport enthusiasts as well as people residing in poorly insulated homes.
"The weather we've experienced so far in 2014 has provided a chilling reminder of the dangers of winter weather and that we can't underestimate the negative health effects it can cause," Mr Kalsi said.
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