At least 6 dead, millions affected by cold snap

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The death toll from the severe cold weather across north and east China rose to six on Wednesday with millions of others affected.

In Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, two deaths had been reported as of Wednesday. Police said a student froze to death when he got lost after school in windy weather. Police were still investigating the other case.

In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, three people have been killed by avalanches and another froze to death from Jan. 7 to 12.

More snow was forecast from Tuesday to Friday in most parts of Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia with temperatures falling by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius, according to China's Central Meteorological Station (CMS).

The frigid weather has affected millions of people, with hundreds of people reported injured, and at least 8,600 evacuated in northwest China. The snow had also flattened and damaged at least 100,000 homes in Xinjiang.

The direct economic loss was estimated at 550 million yuan (80.5 million U.S. dollars) in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.

China's east coast had also been severely affected. Sea water had frozen for the worst time in 30 years in the northern Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea. The State Oceanic Administration had issued a sea ice alert Tuesday to cope with the most severe icing in three decades.

In Beijing, the cold weather disrupted traffic. The passenger flow on Beijing subways rose as people went underground to avoid the frigid air.

Severe cold weather also caused coal and electricity shortages across China.

As of Sunday, coal reserves in 598 major power plants were down to nine days supply. Coal storages in 205 power plants were down to seven days, according to the National Power Dispatch and Communication Center.

The situation worsened in 11 percent of the power plants, which were due to stop production any time as coal reserves were insufficient for three days of power generation.

The CMS forecast Monday that the cold weather would continue in north China and some southern regions for the next 10 days.

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