February 14, 2008 12:27 AM Missouri Time
Death toll tops 100 in wake of snow disaster
Shanghai Daily Web page.
Pic outsie my house in Shanghai
CHINA'S worst snowstorms in five decades have killed at least 107 people nationwide while economic losses topped 111.1 billion yuan (US$15.48 billion) as of Tuesday, Civil Affairs Minister Li Xueju said yesterday.
Eight people are still missing.
(I can personally attest to this storm. It hardly ever snows in Shanghai but this year it snowed for almost 10 days straight. This is over Chinese New Year. Travel was insane at best.)
Nearly 18.6 million hectares of forests were damaged across 19 provinces during the storms that hit central, eastern and southern China, the State Forestry Administration said yesterday.
(The main problem of this snow storm wasn't so much the storm but the complete unpreparedness of the local governments. I saw people scooping snow off the roads with their hands and makeshift brooms.)
The storms have forced at least 1.76 million people to relocate.
They also crippled transportation during the country's biggest holiday travel season. The Ministry of Railways said 5.8 million people had been stranded at stations nationwide, while thousands of flights were canceled and millions of passengers trapped along ice-covered highways.
(My wife and I took a bus to her home town, Very small mountain village. 3 hour trip took 6, Then we had to walk half way up the mountain because roads where closed. I didn't want to go up the mountain but in China you lose a lot of face if you dont go home for this holiday. My wife was insistent that we had to make it.)
The extreme weather affected nearly 24.4 million hectares of farmland and led to the collapse of about 354,000 houses.
Seven provinces - Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei, Zhejiang and Sichuan - and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were the worst-hit areas.
As power supplies, coal reserves and traffic were getting back to normal, and prices remained relatively stable in badly hit areas, Li warned "the current disaster-relief work is still at a crucial stage," and "the hardest time has far from gone by."
As temperatures rise, thawing snow and ice may cause geological disasters and environmental pollution, Li said.
In remote and mountainous areas, including Hubei, Jiangxi and Guizhou, electricity supply, traffic and telecommunications services in many villages have not been restored. Some people are still suffering from water-supply difficulties and living-necessity shortages, Li said.
(I have been to these villages, this is not much diffrent from their daily life anyway. Most of these people can not afford heat or electricity. My wife's family has heat but wont use it. So they huddle in one room watching a black and white t.v. until its time for sleep)
Li said the ministry will intensify its disaster-relief work. "The rebuilding of collapsed houses should be completed by the end of June," he said.
President Hu Jintao has ordered all of the country's military forces to continue to support the reconstruction work in disaster-hit areas. By Sunday, China's troops had sent 6.43 million soldiers and officers and 18.69 million militia to help with reconstruction.
At yesterday's executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, the State Council, China's Cabinet, warned local governments and departments concerned not to relax efforts in disaster relief, ordering them to fast-track manpower, materials and funds.
(Again the disaster here wasn't the storm but the Government. In China people are just cogs and I am sure the President is more concerned about getting building material and trade goods back and forth then helping any of the people. Chalk one up for global warming.
Posted by: White Devil at 12:27 AM
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