A record-breaking cold has gripped Chicago since Christmas

Snow and ice cover Lake Michigan Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Sub-zero to single-digit temperatures combined with blustery northwest winds will create dangerous wind chill conditions in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Much of the United States continues to be gripped by freezing temperatures. More than a dozen deaths so far have been linked to the brutal conditions. 

A record-breaking cold has gripped Chicago since Christmas. CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

The rivers have long frozen over as temperatures plummeted to minus 26 degrees Celsius, or -14 degrees Fahrenheit.

And that’s before factoring in the wind-chill.

The weather continues to dominate local news headlines. And it makes the work of charities all the more important.

A Salvation Army soup run stops off at some 26 locations around the city. For some, this will be the key meal of the day.

“Essential, difficult but necessary. Because you find that when it’s cold out on the street, that is when you are going to find the people who really need the services. Because those are the individuals not getting help. Those are the individuals who are not going to go to certain places to get assistance. But if they can find us on the street, surely we can help them from that standpoint,” said Salvation Army Social Services Director Richard Vargas.

Across the city, an even more vulnerable group, the city’s homeless, struggle to stay warm.

One area, under one of the main streets in Chicago, is known as the triangle. It is utterly freezing. And those here have had to endure consecutive days of extreme weather conditions.  

The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that provides housing and health care to those who call the streets home.

“We have to check on people all of the time because the cold makes people hypothermic. They are not thinking clearly. They are not sure what is going on. We see pneumonia at this time of year, sinus infections, and like I say, they don’t get treated until it is absolutely too late as they don’t want to go to the hospital and have their things taken,” Nurse Practioner, Sandra Collins said.

Alford said he has been clean of drugs for four days and is now determined to get off the street. His message is a plea for more help.

“It’s very cold down here. It really is very, very cold. I believe the city needs to do a whole lot more for people that are down here. Get people into drug addiction places and also, there’s a lot of mental patients down here man. Right now with this freezing weather, it’s very hectic.”   

For some, the bitter freeze, brings inconvenience and delay. But for others, it is quite simply a matter of life and death.

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