China is waging all-out war against the disasters caused by heavy snow and rain in the southern provinces, with military forces and police officers getting involved.
Top state leaders are also supervising disaster relief work.
Chinese President Hu Jintao chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) here on Tuesday to study the damage inflicted by icy rain and heavy snow and plan future work.
The politbureau urged local authorities to regard disaster relief as the "most pressing task" and make "all-out efforts" to ensure normal production and life in areas hit by the extreme weather in the past half month.
Premier Wen Jiabao rushed to Hunan to help with disaster relief work following an unprecedented snowfall. He promised passengers stranded in the railway station in Changsha, capital of the province, that they would all be home for the Spring Festival.
The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL) issued an emergency circular, urging local CCYL organizations at different levels to do everything possible to help areas affected by heavy snow over upcoming weeks.
The circular urged members of the All-China Federation of Youth, young entrepreneurs and young rich people in rural areas to contribute money and goods to the affected areas.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s Department of General Staff and General Political Department issued a joint circular on Monday, ordering troops in affected areas to join the anti-snow battle in collaboration with local governments.
So far, 158,000 PLA troops and the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) and 303,000 paramilitary members have joined the anti-snow campaign.
Nearly 1 million police have been dispatched to keep traffic in order on China's congested highways and bridges since heavy snow hit the country earlier this month.
So far, the ministry has allocated 4.6 million yuan (639,000 U.S. dollars) to Guizhou, Anhui, Hunan, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guangdong Provinces to subsidize the police working in the front line.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Finance on Tuesday allocated 98 million yuan to four rain- and snow-hit areas.
The aid was given to Anhui, Jiangxi and Guizhou Provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the ministries.
At present, the two ministries have provided 126 million yuan in aid to six provinces and an autonomous region hit hard by icy rain and heavy snow.
Heavy snow had killed 24 people and affected 77.86 million people in 14 provinces, including Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan, by 2 p.m. on Monday. The China Meteorological Administration issued a red alert earlier that day for severe snowstorms in the central and eastern parts of the country.
(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2008)