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China works to limit snow-inflicted chaos ahead of Spring Festival
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19:53, January 28, 2008

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· Yearender 2008
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Chinese authorities have spared no effort in combating snow-inflicted woes and reducing the negative impact to the least extent as volatile weather continued to rage in a dozen Chinese regions on Monday.

The Chinese Ministry of Railways mobilized 35 extra trains on Sunday night to help disperse about 500,000 passengers who were stranded in Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong Province, because of snow, the Guangzhou Railways Company Group said.

Millions of travelers are currently struggling to make their annual trip home as the Spring Festival, the most important Chinese holiday, is only nine days away.

Passenger build-up in Guangzhou has been especially heavy because the southern end of the Beijing-Guangzhou rail line, a north-south trunk railroad, has been paralyzed because of heavy snow in the central Hunan Province where power transmission facilities have been knocked out.

Adding to the woes, seven of the eight highways connecting Guangdong and Hunan provinces have been cut off.

Prior to Sunday night the Ministry of Railways had already dispatched 25 trains to Guangzhou to transport passengers by circumventing the Beijing-Guangzhou railway.

Traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou line likely won't be normalized within the next three to five days.

The snow, the worst in a decade in many places, has hit most of China since Jan. 12, causing collapsed homes, power blackouts, highway closures and destroyed crops.

Hunan Province and the western Guizhou Province have been the worst hit by the unprecedented cold spell.

Apart from stranding multitudes of travelers, the bad weather has also caused at least a dozen deaths, injured thousands and caused massive delays in bus and air travel.

Airports in at least 10 cities, such as Wuhan, Nanjing, Changsha and Changzhou, were closed temporarily on Monday.

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) issued a red alert early on Monday for severe snowstorms forecast for the central and eastern parts of the country.

According to the forecast, heavy snow is set to blanket northern Hunan, eastern Hubei, southeastern Henan and northwestern Zhejiang, as well as most areas of Anhui and Jiangsu provinces on Monday.

In addition, freezing rain will pound some parts of Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang.

The CMA warned local governments and departments to prepare for the coming bad weather. Transport, railway, electricity and communication departments were advised to prepare post-snow clean-ups, while suggesting citizens in these areas should reduce their unnecessary outdoor activities.

Source: Xinhua

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