Areas of China affected by the recent severe weather have
shifted from emergency work to reconstruction, with transport and
power supplies returning to normal.
The government of central Hunan Province, one of the areas
hardest hit by the worst weather in half a century, said that it
would offer a subsidy of 5,000 yuan (694 U.S. dollars) to each
household whose residence was destroyed. Around 67,000 houses in
Hunan collapsed in the snowy weather, which persisted from
mid-January through late in the month.
The provincial civil affairs authorities have started checking
those in need of government help, pledging they could move to new
houses by May.
According to the latest official statistics, snow-related
catastrophes killed 107 people and caused 111.1 billion yuan in
direct losses. In all, 21 provinces, autonomous regions and
municipalities have been affected. A total of 354,000 houses
collapsed and 1.5 million people were evacuated.
Seven provinces -- Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei,
Zhejiang and Sichuan -- and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
were the worst-hit areas, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.
In Guangxi, 1,332 schools were damaged and more than 1,200
classrooms became dangerous.
Yu Yizhong, director of the region's education department, urged
local education administration bureaus and schools to try to raise
funds and launch repair and reconstruction work as soon as possible
to ensure the spring term opens as scheduled.
The extreme weather also affected nearly 24.4 million hectares
of farmland and 18.6 million ha of forests. Agricultural
technicians have been organized to go to rural areas to help
farmers with crop planting.
On Thursday, nearly 30 agricultural experts in eastern Anhui
Province set out for a week-long service journey to snow-stricken
rural areas. They will check damage and help farmers replant
Similar technical teams have been organized in other provinces
such as Jiangxi to help farmers restore agricultural
Also in Jiangxi, rural credit cooperatives have provided farmers
with loans totaling 3.5 billion yuan.
(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2008)