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Falling mercury fuels aid for the most needy
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-12 05:21

If people thought it was already cold enough, they'll need to brace for a strong front breezing in from western Siberia and the Mongolian Plateau that will cause temperatures to plummet further in the next two days.

Temperatures will drop by 4 to 6 C in provinces in North, Northwest and Northeast China. As the front moves southward, north winds as strong as Force 5 will further chill parts of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions.

Temperatures in the southwestern provinces such as Sichuan and Guizhou will fall 3 to 5 C, with the mercury expected to sink to 6-8 C in eastern parts of the area south of the Yangtze River.

North and Northeast regions are expected to see sleet and snow, with even heavy snowfall in a few areas, and East, Central, and South China may have cloudy days or rain, the China Meteorological Administration said yesterday.

From now on, the winter freeze will begin to grip the North for the rest of the year, forecasters said.

A helping hand

Residents living in the North have to be fully prepared for a real danger for those in poor health, particularly the elderly and children as well as the needy.

To help urban vagrants and beggars to spend the subfreezing temperatures safely, Beijing aid station authorities have urged their staff to prepare food.

New aid stations should be set up in all of the capital's districts and suburbs for the homeless to take shelter from the cold, authorities said in a circular released yesterday.

Under Chinese rules governing the urban vagrants and beggars, homeless people are not being forced to go to shelter or aid stations. Even if they do not, food and clothes will be provided to them, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Ski resorts in the Beijing area have also been open since last weekend with the coming of colder weather. But because of gusting winds, only low-level ski slopes are currently available. The high-level slopes will be opened next weekend after the wind eases.

An Internet browse looking for ski resorts surrounding Beijing turns up quite a bit of competition for customers, with resorts offering special discount prices.

(China Daily 12/12/2005 page1)

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