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Sandstorms Expected to Ease
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The sandstorms which have blanketed north China for the last three days were expected to ease Tuesday night the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said.


The sandstorms have affected at least ten provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities including Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia and Beijing, said Qiao Lin, of the CMA.


North China has experienced eight sandstorms this year, fewer than the average, but more than last year and 2004, Qiao added.


North China suffered such storms almost every spring but the situation had been worsened this year by higher than average temperatures and a prolonged drought, he said.


Qiao observed that sandstorms occurred in areas with low rainfall, scarce vegetation and frequent gales.


This year's storms left one person dead in a collapsed house in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and stopped dozens of trains for safety reasons in Xinjiang and Gansu.


Serious air pollution was reported in northern cities including Lanzhou, capital of Gansu and Beijing.


North China should receive heavy rain in the next three days which would help contain the airborne sand and help relieve the prolonged drought, according to the CMA forecast.





(Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2006)

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