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Snow-hit province 'fully restored' soon
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All recovery and repair work in Guizhou, one of the worst hit provinces in the recent snow disaster, will be completed by the first half of this year, its governor Lin Shusen said yesterday.

The snowstorms, which lasted from mid-January for a month, were the worst in the last 50 years for the province, and the worst in the last 80 years in some of its areas like Tongren, Qiandongnan and Zunyi.

Almost the whole province suffered power outages during the most severe period, but all areas have had their power restored by Tuesday, Lin said.

All 40,000 to 50,000 houses that collapsed during the blizzards will be rebuilt by June, and other affected sectors like telecommunications and weather services will also be fully restored by the first half of the year, he added.

"This year's agricultural production will not be affected, as spring ploughing did not begin until after the snowstorm," Lin said.

Lin was answering reporters' questions at the Guizhou delegation's discussion at the NPC. Born in Guangdong province, Lin used to be CPC chief of Guangzhou before transferring to Guizhou in 2006.

Official statistics showed that the snowstorm brought a direct loss of 34.8 billion yuan (US$4.9 billion) to Guizhou.

"The snowstorms were a force majeure, but we will study how to better decrease the effects of disasters," Lin said.

When asked about the difficulties he faced in working in Guizhou, Lin said that logistics proved to be a bottleneck for the development of Guizhou.

The province is located in the Yungui Plateau in Southwest China. About 92.5 percent of the region is made up of mountainous area, making communications very difficult.

Lin said that the Guiyang (capital of Guizhou) - Guangzhou express railway, which will start construction this year, will help improve the economy of Guizhou.

"The railway will not only help transport Guizhou's resources, but also bring more investment and tourists from the Peal River Delta," he said.

Guizhou is home to many minority ethnic groups, which make up 39 per cent of the province's population. Shi Zongyuan, CPC chief of Guizhou said that many ethnic cultures will also help the development of the province.

"The development of Guizhou has been rather late compared to other areas," Shi said.

"However, in this way, much of the traditional culture is preserved, which can also be an advantage.

"The number of tourists in the first two months dropped due to the snowstorm, but the peak tourist season will come in summer. I believe Guizhou's tourism will continue to develop this year."

(China Daily March 7, 2008)

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