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Heavy snow brings chaos to SW China city
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Qujing, the second largest city in Yunnan Province in southwest China, is in dire need of power as snow returned to the city since Tuesday.



Workers are repairing power facilities in Qujing on February 16, 2008.


As of Saturday, 39 counties and townships in the city, 90 percent of the total, had suffered blackouts, and power grids there had been seriously damaged, according to government sources.


Meanwhile, more than two million people, 80 percent of the total, have been affected by the snow-triggered power shortage.


Coal oil, candles, charcoal and coalballs have also made a comeback in villages where electricity has been cut off.


Blocked roads have choked coal transportation. As a result, most power plants had just two days of coal left.


As the province's major industrial base, Qujing has an installed generating capacity of 5.4 million kilowatts, making up 56 percent of Yunnan's total. Many areas in the province rely on the power plants in the city.


By Saturday evening, nearly 20 power lines in the city were disrupted by the snow. Workers are busy fixing the lines and power grids disconnected by the heavy snow.



Six highways linking the city to the outside had been closed for two days, stranding more than 30,000 passengers.


Yuan Maozhen, board chairman of China Southern Power Grid, arrived at Qujing Saturday afternoon to direct repair work on the power lines.


Yunnan is among the worst-hit provinces in southern China by snow and icy rains. The provincial department of civil affairs said on Saturday 12 people had died, four were missing, and more than 10 million had been affected by the prolonged snowy, freezing weather.


The disaster also wrecked more than 4,000 houses, killed more than 300,000 cattle and birds, and destroyed about 700,000 hectares of farmland. Nearly 1,000 power lines were cut off and 55 pylons had collapsed.


Local meteorological stations forecast that the extreme weather will continue for a few days more in the northeastern part of the province.


Snow blocks highways in Yunnan


(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2008)


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