Heavy snow piles on the agony

(China Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2008-01-28 07:18

The Central Meteorological Station said the extreme weather was likely to continue for a week, especially in the southern, northwestern and central regions.

"There hasn't been any rise in temperatures or any room for optimism," said Yang Guiming, the chief weatherman.

Emergency measures ordered

The government yesterday ordered urgent steps to tackle transport chaos and energy and food supply strains caused by brutal winter weather.

Premier Wen Jiabao said the weather was threatening lives and disrupting supplies of fresh food, coal, oil and electricity ahead of the Lunar New Year, which starts on Feb 7.

Wen and other top officials announced steps aimed at softening the economic blow from the bad weather and energy shortages.

Provinces were ordered not to hoard coal and electricity, and officials said they would waive some transport charges for farm goods and monitor price hikes. Trains must cope with tens of millions of passengers surging home for the holidays, while more coal must be shipped to power plants.

Wen said energy strains could worsen as power plants' coal reserves ran dangerously low. "The most difficult phase has not passed," he said.

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