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Freezing drinking water supply affecting 100,000
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More than 100,000 people are enduring a drinking water shortage in central China's Hubei Province since Thursday when the plunging temperature froze supply.

The low temperature, along with continuous heavy snowfall, burst water pipes and frozen hydrometers in Wuhan, the Hubei capital.

About 2,000 citizens have contact a water-supply hotline for help, a record high in recent years, according to the Wuhan Water Bureau.

"The water supply here has been cut off for four days since the water tank in our building froze. We have had to fetch water from downstairs ever since," said a local resident.

"I have not seen such a low temperature in Wuhan for more than 10 years," he added.

To ensure supply, the Wuhan Water Bureau deployed nearly 4,000 vehicles and 15,200 workers to repair broken pipes and hydrometers.

Heavy snow also closed five expressways in Hubei on Saturday, further burdening the Wuhan railway terminal amid the current Spring Festival travel peak that started Friday.

Passenger flow at the Hankou Railway Station on Saturday had doubled compared to the same time a year earlier, reaching a record high of 47,000.

Heavy snow was also reported throughout the country.

In the northwestern Gansu Province, the local meteorological observatory issued a red warning, the highest alert, to remind drivers and pedestrians of the icy road conditions.

In the eastern Jiangsu Province, meteorological authorities in Nanjing forecast the snow, which began in the morning, would last for two days.

The eastern Anhui and northwestern Shaanxi provinces also reported heavy snow and a cold front.

(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2008)

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