Sea ice forecast to expand

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Sea ice off China's east coast, the worst in 40 years, will continue to expand in the next few days with another cold snap expected to hit the Bohai Sea.

Sea ice forecast to expand

So far, about half of the Bohai Sea is frozen, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

The sea ice has affected more than 95,000 people in Shandong province. More than 140,000 hectares of offshore aquatic farms and 500 docked fishing boats had been damaged by Thursday, according to the bureau.

In Liaoning Province, residents on Juhua Island were struggling with water shortages as the layer of sea ice measuring up to 20 cm thick continued to expand around the island.

The island of 13.5 sq km, with a population of 3,200 people, is the largest in Liaodong Bay. It is separated by a 7.5-km gulf from Xingcheng city, Liaoning.

Ferry traffic to and from the island was suspended on December 31 because of the ice. Authorities said they were preparing to break the ice and send basic necessities to islanders around Spring Festival on Feb 14.

Ye Qinghua, head of the police station on Juhua Island, said over the phone that people on the island had food and basic necessities, but they were short of drinking water supplies.

The navy dispatched "Sea Ice 721," an ice-breaker vessel, to Bohai area during the weekend to further investigate and monitor the sea ice situation and carry out rescue operations.

Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2010 shows the sea ice on the seashore in Xingcheng, northeast China's Liaoning Province. [Xinhua]

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