Home / China / Photos / National Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Heat Back on for Urumqi Residents
Adjust font size:

Chilled to the bone after four days without heat residents of Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have warmed to the news that central heating to 10,000 households and other buildings would resume at 10 PM on Wednesday.

Xinjiang Huadian Weihuliang Power Generation Co. was forced to suspend heating to a large part of the city late on Saturday leaving residents to face temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius.

A build-up of dirt on the walls of one of the coal-fired boilers is being blamed for the suspension of heat to the city's Shuimogou and Tianshan districts. The build-up was said to have been caused by the burning of low-quality, dirty coal.

How Locals Fared Without Heating

Local resident Ruke Xianmu said her home on Jianshe Road in the Tianshan District was as cold as a deep freezer. "Over the past few days I couldn't do the laundry or mop the floor. I could only crawl into bed to keep warm after having my meals. I used two quilts plus a hot-water bottle," said the housewife. Ruke said her husband spent 118 yuan (about US$15) on an electric heater but it didn't do much to help warm the house.

Daytime highs are averaging around minus seven with lows dipping to minus 14.

A saleswoman at Hongshan Gome Home Appliances Store, which was also without heat, was wearing a down-lined coat under her uniform. "Normally I just put on two sweaters beneath my uniform but that wasn't enough," she said. The saleswoman explained the shop was selling over 200 electric heaters a day.

Only 210 of the 550 pupils at the kindergarten on Guangming Road of Tianshan District showed up for school. "Many children stayed home or were sent to the homes of relatives to keep warm," said Zhang Hui, the kindergarten's principal. "We turned on all the air conditioners that produce heat and packed all the children into a few classrooms where they only read books," said Zhang.

Li Baorong, headmaster of the Urumqi No.12 primary school, said pupils went to school only half days since Monday. "We dare not call off all the classes as it's nearing the end of the semester," said the headmaster. "Teachers encouraged the students to do more exercises."

Abulex Mit, a third-year student with Xinjiang Educational College said, "I dare not use an electric heater in my dorm for fear of a power cut. I just put on extra clothes, wrapped myself in a quilt and read books," he said.

The number of patients almost doubled at the Urumqi No. 1 People's Hospital over the past couple of days. Many had caught colds after days of freezing, said Zhao Jingshan, director of the outpatient department with the hospital.

Accountability in Question

By Wednesday the tens of thousands of chilled-to-the-bone residents had yet to hear an apology or be given a full explanation.

An official with the Huadian Weihuliang Power Generation Co. said since Sunday 80 company workers had been racing against the clock to repair a boiler which had caused the power loss. It was repaired by 9:45 PM Tuesday and back in service early on Wednesday, according to the official.

No one at the company has accepted responsibility for the incident and it has yet to issue an apology. "We only have two boilers with no extra generating units so it's inevitable that when a boiler breaks down a lot of homes, enterprises and institutions will be affected," he said.

Yuan Li, client services director with Wanjia Heating Service Co., said the company's emergency responses only covered mishaps involving pipelines not the complete failure of one of the boilers.

"We can do nothing more than patiently explain the situation to angry residents who've put many curses on us," said Yuan.

Inefficient Emergency Response

Though the central heating has finally resumed the incident tested the urban emergency response system in China. Some residents complained the city government almost appeared indifferent to the suffering of local residents. They've yet to call a news briefing or communicate with the public.

An official with the publicity office of the Urumqi City Government said it was inappropriate for the city to hold a press conference as the power company, Xinjiang Huadian Weihuliang Power Generation Co, was not administered by them.

Weihuliang Power Generation Co. is a subsidiary of China Huadian Corporation, a state-owned electricity producer, which is administered by the China Electricity Regulatory Commission.

(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
Tens of Thousands Without Heat in Urumqi
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback
Copyright © China.org.cn. All Rights Reserved     E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号