Heavy snow, icy rain wreck havoc in South China

Updated: 2011-01-22 21:47


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BEIJING - Heavy snow and icy rain continue to sweep South China, disrupting traffic and cutting water and power supplies.

Heavy snow, icy rain wreck havoc in South China

A agricultural technician checks orange trees affected by freezing weather in a village of Ziyuan county of Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Jan 22, 2011. According to the regional emergency response office, days of freezing weather has affected 258,040 hectares of farm crops. [Photo/Xinhua]

In Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, heavy snow and icy rain had as of Thursday caused 332 houses to collapse and forced the evacuation of 6,241 people, local civil affairs authorities said Friday.

The inclement weather has affected almost 3 million people, with some 15 power lines inoperable and 132 roads closed because of snow and icy rain.

In the neighboring province of Hunan, a blizzard that started Monday has affected nearly 10 million people, forcing the evacuation of 73,000, the Hunan provincial government said at a press conference Friday.

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In Yueyang, Yongzhou, Hengyang, Huaihua and other areas, power has been cut to 2,782 wireless communication base stations, affecting about 89,000 mobile phone users.

Hubei Province saw the heaviest snow in 35 years in Tongcheng County, forcing 2,700 people to be evacuated from their homes.

More than 8,000 others were stranded as the accumulated snow reached 25 cm, according to initial reports by the county government.

In Chongqing Municipality, 357,000 people are facing water shortages after cold weather damaged 448 kilometers of water pipes.

Heavy snow, icy rain wreck havoc in South China

Two children walk on a village road covered by heavy snow in Wanshan, Guizhou province, Jan 22, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]

In Guizhou province, temperatures increased a little Friday, and traffic on expressways across the province flowed.

But icy rain has hit 87 counties, cities and districts, affecting 7.49 million people and causing direct economic losses of over 3.9 billion yuan (US$592 million), provincial authorities said.

According to the Guizhou meteorological center, snowfalls hit most of the province Friday, and outdoor electric wires in 27 counties were coated with ice.

In Yunnan Province, which borders Guizhou, bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported crawling on muddy roads in Zhaotong City, and 24-hour stations offering assistance have been set up to help stranded passengers and drivers.

Also, free meals, water and medicine are being provided at the assistance stations.

"We were stranded on the ice-coated road for a whole night, and caught cold. The medicine received from the station was very helpful," said van driver Ju Shuping, who delivered vegetables from Yunnan's Kunming to Gansu Province.

Three stations were set up along the highway from Chongqing to Kunming, and by Friday the stations had distributed hundreds of cotton-padded coats, more than 2,400 bottles of drinking water, and 1,600 portions of food, such as instant noodles, bread, and biscuits, according to the city's civil affairs departments.

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecast most regions in south and east China to experience more icy rain and snowfalls in the coming three days, which would bring new misery to the havoc.

Local authorities in the affected regions have sent relief materials to affected residents and removed ice from roads.

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