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250,000-odd soldiers battle snow disasters
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China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed 251,000 soldiers to battle the chaos caused by the unusually heavy snow around the southern part of the country by 1 a.m. on Friday, according to a military source.

The PLA's emergency response group also announced 772,000 militia and army reservists were participating in the fight against the extreme weather.

More than 100 aircraft and helicopters are on standby, according to air force sources.

The snow, the heaviest in decades in many places, has been falling in China's eastern, central and southern regions for more than a fortnight. It has caused death, structural collapse, blackouts, accidents, transport problems and livestock and crop destruction.

The PLA currently has 2.3 million troops, according to a White Paper on China's National Defense.

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)

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