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China military airlifts 100 tons of candles to dark southern regions
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11:35, February 07, 2008

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With parts of southern China still without electricity, the air force sent another three transports on Wednesday on an emergency mission, airlifting 100 tons of candles to ensure a "bright" Lunar New Year's Eve for people stranded in darkness.

Although the severe winter weather began to ease in recent days, the power grid was seriously damaged in some counties and villages in several southern provinces, including Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi.

On three hours' notice, a crew of more than 50 members took off at 7:05 a.m. from Wuhan, capital of central Hubei Province, on a 10,000-kilometer flight to the southern cities of Guiyang, Changsha and Nanchang.

According to director Li Qinghua of the Jiangxi Domestic Trade Industry Management Office, the transport landed at Nanchang airport at 1:30 p.m. The million candles would be distributed as soon as possible, Li said.

On Tuesday, three mobile communications vehicles were airlifted to the cities of Wuhan and Guiyang to ensure that people could connect with their far-off relatives on the Lunar New Year's Eve.

Wednesday marks the eve of Lunar New Year, known as Spring Festival, the most important time for family gatherings in China with a population of 1.3 billion.

Featuring prolonged snow, rain and sleet, the severe winter weather has caused house collapses, blackouts and traffic break-downs, affecting some 100 million people with more than 60 dead.

Since Tuesday, air force missions have focused on the supply of lighting and communication facilities and reconstruction, said sources with the air force.

Source: Xinhua

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