With the discovery of six bodies, the death toll in Serbia climbed to 20 that could be attributed to the freezing temperatures which have gripped the region for more than a month.

Meanwhile an estimated 50,000 people in isolated and remote villages remain cut off despite intensified efforts by the government to clear snow-packed roads, according to local media.

The bodies of four people in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad were discovered in unheated homes, the death of a man near Ljig, just south of Belgrade, was attributed to the sub-zero temperatures, while the body of a 68 year-old woman was discovered in a snow bank about 500 meters from her home near Kraljevo.

When the Serbian government announced a state of emergency almost a week ago, an estimated 70,000 people were stranded, mainly in mountainous regions in the south of the country. Since then, roads had been cleared to about 20,000 citizens, leaving an estimated 50,000 virtually abandoned for approximately a month.

According to Predrag Maric, chief of emergency services for the Ministry of Interior, the incessant snowfall has hampered the speed of the snow removal operations. Maric said the Serbian government had delivered more than 50 tons of food for distribution in the most vulnerable municipalities.

Sjenica, located in the south-west of the country, has been hardest hit by the Arctic conditions. High winds have lead to snow drifts reaching four meters in some places.

"This is more than unbelievable; there is no possibility of clearing (snow). All our roads are blocked. We don't know what to do," said Muniz Turkovic, mayor of Sjenica.

"We are trying to reach the sick--doing that on skis--to deliver food. I no longer have the strength to fight, nor do the people working with me," said Turkovic. "We are doing everything just to feed people."

In the north of the country in Zrenjanin, the local hospital has cancelled all but emergency surgeries because of the cold weather.