Twelve national highways in six provinces remained impassable
because of ice on Wednesday afternoon, causing major congestion,
according to the latest report from the Ministry of Public
Through 4:30 PM on Wednesday, highways in regions such as
central Hunan and Hubei, southeastern Anhui, southwestern Guizhou,
southern Guangdong and northwestern Shaanxi Provinces remained
impassable, the report said.
Highway congestion in Hubei Province involved about 20
kilometers of road. Slow traffic was reported around service
stations where long lines around gas pumps were blocked by icy
Most highways in Guizhou and the northern part of Anhui were
closed. Highways in Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi were mostly back to
normal, with a few sections still experiencing slow traffic.
As for railways, the report said that all stranded passenger
trains in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, had started their
journeys although most were behind schedule. It said that 27 trains
were less than 10 hours late, 12 trains were running 10-20 hours
late and six trains were delayed by 20 to 30 hours.
Fourteen trains in Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan
Province -- a major national traffic hub -- were behind schedule,
it said. However, it added that no passengers were stranded at
stations in the area.
The airport in Changsha, Hunan's provincial capital, closed
again on Wednesday morning, leaving about 1,000 passengers
stranded, it said.
The number of stranded passengers eased somewhat at the airport
in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, where about 10,000
passengers were still trying to leave. Planes were once again being
allowed to take off and land.
The ministry said that no major crimes or public security
incidents had occurred during the storm disruptions. "Up to now,
the order of train stations, docks and airports was maintained at
normal level" and passengers remained calm, it said.
The fire control brigade in Hunan helped more than 21,000
disaster-hit people, assisted the evacuation of more than 1,700
stranded vehicles and cleared more than 20 kilometers of snowy and
Unusual freezing weather, heavy snow, sleet and ice rain have
hit 17 provinces and disrupted the plans of millions of people on
their way home to celebrate the Spring Festival.
The Ministry of Railways predicted that the railways would carry
an unprecedented 178.6 million passengers during the travel peak
from Jan. 23 to March 2, up from 156 million last year.
The winter storm had claimed 38 lives by Wednesday, according to
the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)