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306,000 soldiers mobilized to combat snow disasters
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As of midnight Friday, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China had deployed 306,000 soldiers to combat the effects of the snow in the southern parts of the country, a military source said.

About 1.07 million militia and army reservists were participating in the weather relief effort, the PLA's emergency response group told Xinhua.

The PLA currently has 2.3 million troops.

More than 100 aircraft and helicopters remained on standby, air force sources said.

Two AN-26 transport planes flew to the southwestern province of Guizhou in the early hours of Saturday, carrying 5.5 tons of relief material and equipment including food, medicine and quilt.

Military vehicles such as field kitchen trucks and armored cars played an important role in de-icing and rescue missions.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, about 1,500 soldiers helped maintain order in its train station.

Soldiers of the Hubei Military Area in central China helped local police to restore a 28-km section of the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway, the country's key north-south trunk road, which had been closed by dangerous icing. Those efforts helped more than 6,000 vehicles and 12,000 stranded riders continue their journeys.

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 deaths, structural collapses, blackouts, accidents, transport problems and livestock and crop destruction.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)


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