Outdoor workers fight freeze as temperatures plummet

Updated: 2016-01-23 03:53


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Teams brave challenging conditions to keep key services running as temperatures plummet

Outdoor workers fight freeze as temperatures plummet

Tourists from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, brave the cold to take selfies in Tian'anmen Square, Beijing, on Friday. PHOTOS BY Feng Yongbin, Lyu Wenzheng and HU DUNHUANG

Teams of outdoor workers are braving falling temperatures, howling winds and snowstorms affecting many areas of China to keep vital services running.

But these hardy employees have to be careful about the challenging conditions in which they are working.

According to a report by the National Meteorological Center, on cold and windy days when temperatures fall below -30 C, there is the risk of frostbite if they stay outdoors for more than 10 minutes.

Niu Shulei, a soldier, has patrolled the country's northern border with Russia for three years, but has never experienced such biting winds as in recent days when the temperature dropped to a record low.

In Mohe, China's northernmost city in Heilongjiang province, the cold front has lowered the temperature to -43 C, making Niu's daily patrol along part of the Heilongjiang River, which forms the border, "like walking against knives because of the howling wind".

"We have to walk quickly to keep our bodies warm," he said, adding that ice rapidly forms on the soldiers' coats outdoors.

But Niu and his colleagues maintain daily patrols despite the cold.

Yao Likuo, assistant manager at a wind power company in Heilongjiang, said the firm's engineers who work on repairs have been busy keeping the wind turbine working normally in extremely low temperatures.

In Beijing, Zhao Ruge, a policeman in charge of safety inspections of vehicles heading into the capital, said now is a busy time for the inspections as Spring Festival approaches. He has found vehicles transporting fireworks illegally.

"I daren't rub my ears to make them warm after working outdoors as I fear I might damage them," said Zhao, who is in his 50s.

Some workers are braving the icy conditions to protect their livelihoods.

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