Buildings are collapsing, the transport system is on its knees
and the local power company is running out of steam - such is the
impact of the heaviest snows to hit the city of Shanghai in 17
And the cold snap is not over yet.
Yesterday, the Shanghai meteorological bureau upgraded its icy
roads alert to the second-highest possible and warned people to
take extra care on treacherous streets.
It forecast the snow would abate in the night and but said today
would remain cold.
So far, some 37 buildings have collapsed under the weight of the
snow, with 20 people reported injured.
Passengers wait outside
Hefei railway station on Saturday to buy tickets. Li Jian (Right) a
vegetable market in Wuhan, Hubei province, collapses under the
weight of heavy snow on Sunday.
Local transport authorities said all highways connecting
Shanghai and nearby cities have been closed and at least 2,000
buses have been cancelled. The Shanghai rail authority yesterday
announced a blanket cancellation of all long-distance trains
scheduled to depart Shanghai before Thursday, leaving 30,000 people
stranded at stations.
Liang Xiaochun, a migrant worker who had hoped to return to her
home in Anhui province for the New Year holiday said she decided
after a 10-hour wait to instead get a refund on her ticket.
Railways official Sun Lei told China Daily: "We're not
sure yet when normal operations will resume. But passengers can get
At Hongqiao and Pudong airports, 96 flights were either delayed
According to the Xinhua News Agency, most of the affected
flights at Pudong were to or from Japan, South Korea and Southeast
Yao Lan, a white-collar worker with a foreign-owned company,
said she has never seen such heavy snow.
The freezing weather has also put huge pressure on the city's
According to the Metro Express, demand for electricity
has exceeded the maximum output for the past several days and the
remaining coal supplies will be fully depleted in three days.
A source with the power authority said it is in the process of
sourcing more coal, which should arrive soon.
Go slow in Zhengzhou
Ge Tao is glad he flew to Zhengzhou on Saturday, as just 20
hours after arriving, the city's Xinzheng Airport was closed due to
If I hadn't left when I did, I wouldn't have made it home," the
The closure led to more than 80 flights being canceled.
Airport official Zheng Wenpeng said flights resumed at 9 am
yesterday, to the delight of the 4,000 passengers who had been left
He said a further suspension "might occur at any time".
As well as the airport being closed, trains between Zhengzhou,
capital of Henan province, and Guangzhou were canceled on
Yesterday morning, 12,000 railway workers were drafted to clear
snow from the tracks.
Wang Feng, a railway official, told China Daily that
once the tracks had been cleared, 12 additional trains were laid on
to clear the backlog.
As well as halting travelers, the weather has hit the local food
supply. Dai Dafeng, a fruit and vegetable seller in Zhengzhou, said
supplies had been running short for days.
"We normally have 200 to 300 trucks delivering fruit and
vegetables every day, but in recent days I have seen only a dozen
or so," she said.
Stranded in Guangzhou
Wang Wenqiang is just one of the millions of migrant workers
hoping to return home for the holidays after working in Zhongshan,
Guangdong province. He is also one of the unfortunates who have
fallen victim to disrupted rail services.
The factory worker was hoping to return to his hometown in
Sichuan province, but instead spent last night in a square outside
Guangzhou railway station.
He was glad yesterday morning when the authorities arranged for
people like him to get temporary lodging, food and water in the
heated exhibition halls of the Chinese Import and Export Fair,
opposite the railway station.
"I'm delighted with the government's concern for the stranded
people," Wang told China Daily yesterday.
He said he will get a refund for his ticket and return to
Zhongshan for the New Year.
Others, however, are more determined to get home.
Hong Wangzhen, said she will not give up on going home to
"I've not been home for four years," she said.
Officials said more than 170,000 rail passengers had been
stranded. Although some trains running yesterday, the station has
stopped selling tickets for all trains that depart through Feb
Guangdong Party secretary Wang Yang, Minister of Public Security
Meng Jianzhu, and Guangzhou Party secretary Zhu Xiaodan have all
visited the railway station in the past two days, and have jointly
urged government departments to do everything they can to
contribute to people's safe journeys.
The freezing weather has also disrupted Guangdong's air and
About 10,000 passengers were reportedly stranded at Guangzhou
airport yesterday after 30 flights were cancelled. Also, some
50,000 vehicles were stranded on the Shaoguan section of the
Beijing-Zhuhai expressway due to heavy snow.
No flights in Nanjing
In Nanjing, Jiangsu province, heavy snow over the past three
days has had a huge impact on travelers. On Sunday, for the first
time ever, all flights to and from Lukou International Airport were
Wang Pei, head of the airport's service division, said:
"Although the blower trucks were working continuously to try and
clear the runway, their efforts were in vain because the snow fell
It was a similar situation at the coach station where 3,000
passengers were left with nothing to do but wait due to widespread
"I have been waiting for three days, but still don't know when I
can leave," Jiang Haiping, a migrant worker from Chongqing,
The slippery roads have also become a safety hazard.
Wang Lijun, a doctor at Nanjing Gulou Hospital, said: "We have
had 30 patients today, most of them with broken legs and arms from
falling on the ice."
(China Daily January 29, 2008)