CHINA> Regional
Four children die in school canteen collapses
Updated: 2009-11-12 22:16

SHIJIAZHUANG: Four children had died and 35 were injured when two school canteens in northern China collapsed in heavy snow since Wednesday, the local authority said Thursday.

The canteen of Longfeng Private Primary School at Mingguan Town, Yongnian County, Hebei Province, collapsed at about 6 pm Wednesday when the pupils were dining, a county government spokesman said.

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Two girls and a boy died when the building collapsed after a second day of heavy snow. A total of 28 children were injured. Their identities are yet to be made public, he said.

The 28 injured were receiving treatment at a local hospital. The county government had relocated all the students to other schools to continue their studies on Wednesday night.

The government also issued a notice Wednesday night, asking all the middle and primary schools in the county to suspend classes for two days to check building safety.

In the provincial capital Shijiazhuang, one person was killed, 25 were injured and 68 vegetable greenhouses collapsed due to the snow, a provincial civil affairs department official said Thursday.

Another canteen collapse in neighboring Henan Province killed one student and injured seven Thursday morning.

The accident happened at about 7:30 am at Xinyu Middle School in Kaifeng County when students were queuing for breakfast at a prefabricated steel-structured canteen, a county education bureau official said.

Zhang Jiaqi, a seventh grader, died in the collapse. Another three were seriously injured and four were slightly injured. They were receiving treatment at Kaifeng County No. 1 People's Hospital, he said.

A total of 86,000 people in 10 counties were affected by the snowstorm and the direct economic loss was 76.75 million yuan ($11.2 million), he said.

The snow was expected to weaken later Thursday and the weather would be fine or cloudy on Friday in Hebei, according to the provincial meteorological station.

Snow continued to hit many parts of north China Thursday, causing highway and airport closures.

The Taiyuan Airport in Shanxi Province was closed again at 2:15 am after it was reopened at 9 am Wednesday. It had been closed for 25 and a half hours before the reopening.

About 700 passengers were stranded at the airport. The airport staff are cleaning up the snow on the runway.

The Hohhot Baita International Airport in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was closed between 7:20 pm to 9:15 pm on Wednesday and 8:10 am to 10:40 am Thursday, causing several flight delays.

The Chifeng Yulong Airport, another major airport in the region, was also closed Thursday and more than 360 bus trips had been canceled since 1:50 pm at the Chifeng Long-distance Bus Station.

Most of the highways in Shandong Province were closed as snow hit the province Wednesday night. Nine flights to Dalian, Beijing, Lanzhou, Shenyang and Hohhot were delayed or canceled at Jinan International Airport and another flight to Beijing was also canceled at Yantai International Airport.

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