Heavy snow kills 17, cuts power in China

Updated: 2008-01-23 10:03

China has beefed up disaster alleviation work as an unusually heavy snowfall claimed at least 17 lives and caused widespread traffic and power disruption.

The death toll increased by two after a car collided with a truck on an ice-covered road on Monday night in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, leaving two dead and five injured.

Before that, six people were confirmed dead in buildings that collapsed under the weight of the snow in Hubei and Anhui provinces and nine others died in weather-related traffic accidents in Hubei.

In southwestern Guizhou, power has been cut off in nine counties because of grid damage caused by the freezing rain.

By midday Tuesday, three 500-kV transmission trunk cables and 25 smaller lines were out of operation with serious damage, according to the Guizhou Power Grid Company.

The company had stopped supplying electricity to seven high energy-consuming industries and had imposed limits on other industries to ensure power for homes, government buildings and hospitals, said Chao Jian, deputy general manager of the company.

Chao said the company was organizing repair teams and seeking help from neighboring Yunnan Provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to help with repair work.

In eastern Anhui, more than three million people had been affected by a heavy snow from Friday to Sunday, with snow drifts up to half a meter in places.

A total of 3,635 houses collapsed under the weight of snow, according to the provincial disaster relief office.

Traffic, power and telecommunications were cut in more than 50 towns of the province.

In northwest China's Shaanxi province, the seriate heavy snow since Jan. 11 has affected most parts of the province. Only in Weinan and Yan'an, two cities near the provincial capital Xi'an, about 423,500 people were affected. More than 182,300 people were turned off water supply temporarily and 147 houses collapsed under the weight of snow.

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