Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday visited passengers stranded at the railway station in the southern city of Guangzhou. He said that the government would try its best to make sure everyone goes home for family reunions during the upcoming lunar New Year.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao talks with passengers on a train leaving for Nanchang in east China's Jiangxi Province, at the Guangzhou Railway Station in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Jan. 30, 2008.
Speaking through a megaphone to a large crowd, Wen told passengers: "You all want to go home and I completely understand how you feel. We are now fixing the power grid. Once the power supply resumes, trains will be running.
Wen visited stranded passengers in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, before arriving in Guangzhou.
Heavy snow and icy rain since Jan. 10 have caused traffic to come to a standstill during China's peak travel season when millions of Chinese are on their way home to celebrate the Spring Festival with their families.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L2) speaks through a megaphone to the crowd when he visits passengers stranded at the Guangzhou railway station in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong province, Jan. 30, 2008. Wen said that the government would try its best to make sure they could go home for family reunion for the upcoming lunar new year.
"All work is being expedited in an orderly fashion. The number of trains that resume services is increasing every day," Wen told the passengers in Guangzhou.
"We are working hard to make sure you all can go home soon and be with your family for the holiday," he said.
Wen also boarded a train bound for Wuchang in Hubei Province and greeted passengers.
"The Premier was in Hubei the day before yesterday and in Hunan yesterday. I did not expect him to come to Guangzhou today because of the rain. I feel his warmth in my heart," said a passenger.
In his visit to the China Southern Power Grid, the premier ordered the company to mobilize all forces available and take all possible measures to fix power equipment and streamline power distribution.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (front R) waves to passengers when he visits the ticket office at a long-distance coach station of Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Jan. 30, 2008.
Wen then chaired a meeting with officials from Guangdong Province and the Railway Ministry. "In the short term, Guangdong's priority is to help passengers go home as soon as possible. In the long term, Guangdong needs to set up a mechanism that safeguards the supply of coal, electricity and oil," he said.
"After thirty years of reform and opening-up, we have abundant materials in stock. With efficient organization, we can definitely overcome any current difficulties," he added.
By Wednesday, about 217,000 passengers had been stranded in Guangzhou because the southern end of the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line, a north-south trunk railway, was paralyzed by heavy snow in Hunan Province, where power transmission facilities were knocked out.
Many trains have been delayed and traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou line is unlikely to return to normal within the next three to five days as snow is persisting in central China.
Earlier this week, Premier Wen rushed to Hunan to help with central China province's disaster relief work following an unprecedented snowfall.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (front L) sends off passengers on a train leaving for Nanchang in east China's Jiangxi Province, at the Guangzhou Railway Station in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Jan. 30, 2008.
He arrived in Changsha City, the provincial capital, on Tuesday morning. Then he immediately held meetings with officials from Hunan and those in departments under the State Council on how to combat ice and snow and how to better direct disaster relief work.
Disasters caused by prolonged low temperature, icy rain and heavy snow has killed 38 people in China since Jan. 10, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Wednesday.
Altogether 17 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities including Hubei, Hunan and Anhui have been affected.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)