Rail, highway and air transport systems paralyzed by freezing
weather in south China are recovering gradually ahead of the Lunar New Year, but millions of people are
still cold and in the dark.
As of noon on Tuesday, service at two railway stations in the
southern city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, was back to normal
after 11 days of chaos, according to the Guangzhou Railway Group
Corp., which is under the Ministry of Railways.
"About 3.5 million people left the province by train by Tuesday
noon, and basically, all the passengers who held tickets but had
been stranded at different railway stations have left," a spokesman
Guangzhou, with one of the biggest concentrations of the
country's 200 million migrant workers, is the southern terminal of
a trunk railway line that runs northward to Beijing.
With the resumption of rail transport in south China, the number
of railway passengers across the country is expected to rise
dramatically on Tuesday, just a day ahead of the week-long national
holiday of the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, which falls on
About 350,000 train passengers left Beijing on Monday, 20,000
more than on Sunday, according to a spokesman with the Beijing
Railway Bureau, also under the Ministry of Railways. He said that
rail stations in the capital would probably see ridership peak on
On the highways, a major north-south trunk road, the
Beijing-Zhuhai expressway, was back to normal after de-icing work
by 1,200 troops and police over the past week.
Almost all the airports in snow-stricken regions had resumed
operations, although heavy fog forced 47 flights to be cancelled
and 1,006 flights delayed in the eastern cities of Hangzhou,
Nanjing and Changzhou on Monday, leaving 29,000 passengers
Meanwhile, Chenzhou, a city of about 4 million in the central
Hunan Province, began its 11th day of power blackouts and water
cuts on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of workers were struggling to
repair damaged power lines to get the lights back on in time for
the Spring Festival.
Snow has been falling in China's eastern, central and southern
regions since mid-January, leading to deaths, structural collapses,
blackouts, accidents, transport problems and livestock and crop
losses in 19 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions,
according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. More than 100 million
people have been affected, and at least 60 people have died in the
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2008)