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Heavy snow traps 40 on Tibet highway


08:53, February 09, 2012

XINING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Forty people have been trapped on a snow-covered highway 5,000 meters above sea level in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region following heavy snow on Tuesday, rescuers said Wednesday.

Heavy snow has buried a 100-km section of National Highway No. 219 in Zhongba county in Ngari prefecture since Tuesday, stranding 40 passengers in four vehicles, according to Zheng Jinshui, a police officer in charge of an 18-person rescue team.

Rescuers received a call for help from the trapped around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Zheng said.

Snow continues to fall on the highway and the temperature is around negative 30 degrees Celsius, Zhang said, adding that traffic police have closed the snow-covered highway section due to safety concerns.

In neighboring Qinghai province, persistent snowfall and low temperatures have wreaked havoc on the local population, according to local civil affairs authorities.

Over 100,000 residents in Qinghai's Yushu, Huangnan and Golog Tibetan autonomous prefectures have been affected by the month-long cold spell, according to a statement from the provincial civil affairs department issued on Wednesday.

The heavy snow and biting cold have injured 650 people, killed 35,000 livestock and resulted in the destruction of 33 homes, inflicting direct economic losses of 127 million yuan (20.2 million U.S. dollars), the statement said.

The provincial civil affairs department has provided disaster relief materials, including tents, clothing and food, and relief funds totaling more than 2 million yuan for affected areas.


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