$100m spent on Xinjiang blizzards relief work

Updated: 2010-03-10 01:32
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URUMQI - A total of 690 million yuan ($101 million) has been used to cushion the impact of the blizzards that have hit China's northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since last December, the regional government said Tuesday.

The money was from central and local fiscal and donations. A total of 38,700 tonnes of coal and 40,000 winter coats were also distributed to the affected population, said Qian Zhi, deputy chairman of Xinjiang government.    

Freezing weather and heavy snowstorms have left 30 people dead and three missing in Xinjiang since December.

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The snowstorms, the worst in six decades, also seriously affected 1.88 million people after houses collapsed and livestock were killed.

The official estimated that economic losses could be as high as 2.66 billion yuan ($389.4 million).

The disaster forced the evacuation of 188,000 residents, brought down 19,000 houses and damaged 128,000 more, Qian said.

A total of 23,200 vegetable greenhouses were also damaged, delaying the supply of vegetables.

About 87,100 livestock died and 96,000 had miscarriages because of the freezing weather, Qian added.

The official also cautioned that floods could be another big challenge this year after the snow melt in the spring or summer.