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Snow-plagued southern Tibet in dire need of fuel, fodders
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China's Tibet Autonomous Region will offer subsidies to herders who have to slaughter livestock as a result of a record-breaking snowstorm.

Gong Puguang, vice chairman of Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, said the measure was introduced to reduce losses to herders this month.

"Each household that has sold or slaughtered more than 17 percent of their herd will be given 100 yuan (about 14.3 U.S. dollars) for slaughtering an extra large livestock such as cattle or yak, or 20 yuan for a small one such as a sheep," said Gong, who is now in Lhunze, a county hard hit by the worst snowstorm on record in Tibet, to give guidance in relief efforts.

Gaisang Yangzom, chief of Maru village affairs committee in Lhunze, on Thursday led nine villagers to look for lost cattle and sheep.

"It was the heaviest snow I've ever seen and the snowstorm was totally unexpected," said the Tibetan woman."Luckily, we just found our yak herd, but they didn't feed on anything for three days."

Fodder supplies now available in the village will only last for a dozen days. Villagers worry their livestock might lose weight or even die because of a lack of fodder, according to Gaisang Yangzom.

Hua Xuejian, Communist Party committee chief of Lhunze, said his county would need 2.55 million kg of fodders and 325,000 kg of fuel for keeping warmth in winter.

It started to snow heavily on Sunday in many parts of Tibet and last into Monday afternoon, with Shannan Prefecture being the worst hit.

Gong added the government would fully finance treatment of those injured in the snowstorm. Families whose home were toppled in the bleak weather will get 30,000 yuan each in aid for reconstruction.

Family members of those killed in the snowstorm will also get a compensation fee of 5,000 yuan.

The snowstorm left seven people dead, one more missing, alongside the death of 144,400 head of livestock as of Thursday. Most of the human casualties were in Lhunze, Shannan. It also knocked out telecommunications and traffic, and cause power cuts in parts of the plateau region.

Also, 1,700 other people who had been stranded were moved to safety, while another 1,300 remain stranded by damaged buildings or blocked roads in Lhunze, Cona and Comai counties, all in Shannan, by Thursday.

The snow on the ground in some places of Lhunze was two to three meters thick. Weather experts predict it will take 10 to 15 days to melt.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2008)

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