Homeless man found dead after cold snap

A homeless man found dead in a park in the central district of Thisseio early on Wednesday following a night of sub-zero temperatures is believed to have died of hypothermia.

Athens Mayor, Giorgos Kaminis, said the unidentified man was discovered by municipal street cleaners, noting that the exact cause of his death was to be confirmed by a coroner.

?This tragic development acutely highlights basic weaknesses in our society and our organized institutions,? Kaminis said in statement. ?The fact that our fellow human beings have reached the point of living in wretched conditions, on the sidewalks, in the squares and in the parks of our city is a serious matter which concerns us all,? the statement added.

Kaminis said municipal services would ?step up efforts to provide assistance to those who face hardship and the consequences of the economic crisis,? noting that municipal staff have been distributing blankets, sleeping bags, soup and tea to homeless people. Citizens should contribute to municipal efforts to help their homeless citizens, the mayor added.

Estimates by the Red Cross put the number of homeless people in Greece at around 20,000, more than double the official number of 7,720 given by the Health Ministry. Of these, at least 2,000 are sleeping rough on the streets of the capital, according to the ministry though social workers put this number much higher.

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