China's Ministry of Education (MOE) has ordered all primary and
high schools in snow-hit areas to step up safety inspections before
the new semester begins.
The MOE said in a circular that local education departments and
schools should carefully examine structural safety. All repaired or
rebuilt school buildings and facilities must be approved for use by
The schools should ensure food and water supplies and safety to
protect students from infectious diseases, according to the
Schoolbuses should not be used if roads are still covered with
ice and snow, or there were hidden dangers of landslides.
The beginning of new semester, which was set by local education
departments, should be postponed until conditions return to normal,
In the past month, prolonged low temperatures, icy rain and
heavy snow have covered much of southern China.
Twenty-one provincial-level areas have been affected, with
Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei, Zhejiang, Sichuan and the
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region being the worst hit. The weather
claimed 107 lives and caused 15.4 billion U.S. dollars in direct
The disaster relief and emergency command center under the State
Council has issued an emergency circular, calling on governments in
disaster areas to beef up reconstruction to restore order in
production and people's life.
The notice urged priority to be given to restoration of power
grid, railways, water supply, education and health care facilities,
damaged civilian houses, among other facilities. Top importance
should also be attached to restoration of agricultural production,
the circular said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2008)