Parts of central Europe have been devastated by blizzards and freezing rain. A quarter of homes in Slovenia have been left without electricity after heavy snow and ice caused the collapse of power lines.

The Slovenian government said that more than 40 per cent of the country's Alpine forests have been damaged. Defence Minister Roman Jakis said during an emergency government meeting that the country has been hit by "a large-scale natural disaster."

Serbian government minister Aleksandar Antic said that more than 5,000 people have been evacuated in the past few days. Authorities used a military helicopter, tanks and armoured vehicles to reach stranded people.

In the southern Austrian province of Carinthia, bordering Slovenia, up to 3,000 homes were without electricity. Two rail routes connecting Austria with Italy were closed.

In southeastern Poland, some 20 villages were cut off by snow drifts.

A man walks past ice-covered road signs in Postojna, Slovenia
A man walks past ice-covered road signs in Postojna, SloveniaReuters
People walk past trees covered with ice in Postojna
People walk past trees covered with ice in PostojnaReuters
Parked cars are encased in ice in Postojna
Parked cars are encased in ice in PostojnaReuters
A man shovels snow next to an ice-covered car in Postojna
A man shovels snow next to an ice-covered car in PostojnaReuters
Icicles hang from power lines in Postojna
Icicles hang from power lines in PostojnaReuters
An ice-covered balcony is pictured in Postojna
An ice-covered balcony is pictured in PostojnaReuters
In Postojna all cars are white
In Postojna all cars are whiteReuters
A woman and a child drag a sledge past a fallen electricity pole
A woman and a child drag a sledge past a fallen electricity poleReuters
A worker cuts the top of a ice-covered tree in Postojna
A worker cuts the top of a ice-covered tree in PostojnaReuters
Ice covers a World War II monument in Pivka, Slovenia
Ice covers a World War II monument in Pivka, SloveniaReuters
A snowman encased in thick ice is seen in Prestranek, Slovenia
A snowman encased in thick ice is seen in Prestranek, SloveniaReuters
An ice-covered steam locomotive is seen in Postojna railway station
An ice-covered steam locomotive is seen in Postojna railway stationReuters
Ice-covered, downed, power lines are seen in Postojna railway station
Ice-covered, downed, power lines are seen in Postojna railway stationReuters
Two men walk past ice covered trees in Postojna
Two men walk past ice covered trees in PostojnaReuters
A man standing on an ice-covered balcony in Pivka, Slovenia looks around his ice-covered neighbourhood
A man standing on an ice-covered balcony in Pivka, Slovenia looks around his ice-covered neighbourhoodReuters
Members of the Slovenian army remove ice-covered fallen trees in Pivka
Members of the Slovenian army remove ice-covered fallen trees in PivkaReuters
A man removes icicles from his roof in Prestranek, Slovenia
A man removes icicles from his roof in Prestranek, SloveniaReuters
A power company worker repairs lines in ice-covered woods in Pivka, Slovenia
A power company worker repairs lines in ice-covered woods in Pivka, SloveniaReuters
An elderly man loads firewood in a wheelbarrow in Prestranek, Slovenia
An elderly man loads firewood in a wheelbarrow in Prestranek, SloveniaReuters