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Airport reopens but delays continue
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The airport of Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, reopened yesterday after being closed for several days due to heavy snow.

But Deng Shengtao's flight to Beijing remained on the cancelled list.

"The airport gave priority to flights that had been delayed over the past two days," the 36-year-old businessman told China Daily yesterday.

"There is just this huge crowd in the airport."

Deng is just one of the tens of thousands of passengers affected by the severe weather in the city.

An official at Wuhan Tianhe Airport said that as of yesterday afternoon, about 6,000 passengers had been stranded at the airport, with 400 flights from the city postponed or cancelled over the past three days.

Across the province, the heavy snowfall has affected more than 19.5 million people.

Eight people have been killed and 15,426 have been injured as a result of the treacherous weather, local authorities said.

The snow toppled 36,080 homes and damaged 103,046 others, official figures showed.

The provincial government has evacuated 183,000 people to safer areas.

The snowfall also damaged 954,600 hectares of cropland in the province.

The extreme weather has resulted in direct economic losses of 5.49 billion yuan ($763 million) in the province, local authorities said.

The provincial government is sparing no efforts to ensure power supplies for residents, officials said, while the supply to heavy-consuming factories has been limited.

The municipal government of Wuhan said it will give temporary subsidies of 120 yuan to more than 100,000 low-income families in the city, to help counter consumer price hikes.

The snows will return to Wuhan tomorrow through Friday, forecasters have said.

(China Daily January 30, 2008)

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