China has ordered a stepping up in disaster relief efforts on
Sunday for the worst snow in 50 years as the weather was forecast
to become milder next week.
The southern regions, hardest-hit by snow and freezing rain
during the past three weeks, were forecast to experience rainy
intervals next week, according to the China Meteorological
The rain was expected to come to a halt between Feb. 6 and Feb.
9, therefore the snow and ice would start to thaw with the rising
temperature, the CMA said.
The State Council, China's cabinet, ordered to beef up efforts
to clear the snow- and ice-covered roads and restore rail and road
traffic to take stranded passengers home and transport more coal
and disaster-relief goods.
It urged to repair power equipment and resume power supply to
the disaster-hit regions at a quicker pace.
It also called for more traffic safety measures as heavy fog is
currently shrouding Hunan, Zhejiang, Hubei, Jiangsu, Anhui and
The government urged local authorities to take good care of the
millions of migrant workers who were stranded for days before
giving up the hope of returning home for the upcoming Lunar New
The migrants have helped to reduce pressure on the strained rail
and road systems that were at one time paralyzed by disastrous
snowstorms, the State Council said in a statement.
The local authorities were also required to provide
accommodation and food for those still stranded in railway and bus
stations, ports and airports.
The Ministry of Finance has ordered to raise the allowance and
offer a temporary subsidy to the poor in disaster-hit regions to
help them cope with price increases in daily necessities.
Zheng Guoguang, CMA head, blamed the La Nina phenomenon and
abnormal atmospheric circulation for the disastrous weather that
has killed at least 60 nationwide and left millions facing a cold,
dark Lunar New Year holiday.
La Nina is a large pool of unusually cold water in the
equatorial Pacific that develops every few years and influences
global weather. It is the climatic opposite of El Nino, a warming
of the Pacific.
Zheng said the La Nina conditions developed in August throughout
the tropical Pacific and strengthened at the sharpest pace in 56
years. The sea-surface temperature during the past six months was
0.5 degree Celsius lower than normal years.
He added the abnormal atmospheric circulation in the mid- and
high- altitude regions of Europe and Asia, which has persisted for
nearly 20 days since mid-January, was also a culprit of the rampant
chilly and snowy weather.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)