Chinese people are enjoying the week-long holiday ushering in an
auspicious Year of the Mouse, as the government races to
repair electricity grids and deliver food, blankets and other
supplies to areas hit by the worst snowstorms in more than 50
Weather forecasters say new downfalls are to hit the south next
Electricians inspect power
transformers in Guiyang, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, during
the Lunar New Year holiday on February 8, 2008. China raced to
repair electricity grids and deliver food, blankets to areas hit by
the worst snowstorms in 50 years as new downfalls are forecast to
hit the south early next week.
Stranded train passengers have been cleared from stations and
food prices are falling after the government released supplies from
reserves, according to a statement yesterday on the Web site of the
State Council. Electricity was restored to 164 of 169 snow-affected
The biggest snowfalls in China since 1954 clogged road, rail and
air routes as millions of migrant workers made the annual journey
home for the Chinese New Year holiday. Figures from the disaster
relief and emergency command center show domestic insurers have
paid out 917 million yuan (US$128 million) in snow-related
The unexpected spate of extreme weather, which brought
widespread chaos, revealed the weak points of China's fast-growing
The economy has boomed since it launched an opening-up policy in
1978, but the gap between limited resources and increasing demand
has remained unsolved, experts said, citing the examples of the
Spring Festival transportation period and coal and electricity
shortages triggered by the weather problems.
The China Meteorological Administration warned Thursday in a
statement that snows and freezing rain may hit southern China again
early next week, including Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region. It would cause more delays as workers return to
An estimated 200 million migrant workers headed home for Lunar
New Year, celebrated on February 7, and will soon begin to travel
back to their workplaces.
Warmer weather allowed the bureau to lift its severe weather
alert two days ago, but it said the improved weather will cause
snow to melt and may bring landslides in mountainous areas.
More than three weeks of snowstorms killed at least 80 people
and caused direct economic losses of about 80 billion yuan,
according to the Red Cross Society of China.
Food prices in China continued to fall, after the cost of
vegetables in 36 cities rose more than 30 percent between Jan. 25
and Jan. 30 because of the transport problems.
The average wholesale price of vegetables in large and
medium-sized cities in China declined 1.5 percent on Feb. 5 from a
day earlier, while the average wholesale price of pork fell 0.6
percent, the State Council said on its Web site yesterday.
Among Chinese mobile phone users, many recalled the three weeks
of severe weather in their New Year text messages, stressing the
significance of family, friendship, the leadership and the spirit
of determination and unity among people in coping with the natural
"We have tamed the disaster with strong determination. Let's now
brace for the grand Olympic event," Ren Libo, a native of Guizhou,
said before getting off his homebound train on Wednesday night.
(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2008)