Xinjiang faces more misery in new cold wave

By Cui Jia (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-18 07:17
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URUMQI: Four people are reported to have died and more than 530,000 affected by the severe winter in Xinjiang, where another cold front is expected to send the temperature plummeting to -42 C in some parts.

More than 100,000 houses have been flattened or damaged amid the heaviest snowstorms in a decade, and 15,200 livestock died in the autonomous region.

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Direct economic losses are estimated at 200 million yuan ($29 million), and the regional government has allocated 15 million yuan ($2.2 million) for disaster relief in the affected areas.

Tacheng and Altay areas, which have been reeling under the heaviest snow in 10 years, will face severe blizzards in the next two days, the regional meteorological station warned yesterday.

"Another cold front is expected to hit the northern part of Xinjiang as of Sunday (last) night and last for two days, which will cause severe blizzards," Wei Rongqing, deputy director of the regional meteorological station told China Daily.

"The temperature in Altay might drop to -42 C, which will further disrupt people's lives and create more problems in relief work," he said.

In Altay, the local authority has decided to move more than 10,000 livestock from mountain areas that are difficult to reach to other locations where sufficient supplies are stored.

Due to the cold front, most parts of the country will see snow, rain and temperature drops by up to 18 degrees Celsius in the next three days, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecast over the weekend.

Temperatures might drop 8-12 degrees Celsius in Xinjiang, Gansu province, northern parts of Qinghai province and western parts of Inner Mongolia autonomous region; and up to 18 degrees Celsius in certain areas.

The cold front will bring rain to Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Guangdong province, the Sichuan basin, northern parts of Guizhou province and southern parts of Yunnan province, according to the forecast.