HEFEI - More than 3.4 million people in east China's Anhui Province have been affected by a heavy snow since Friday, officials said on Wednesday.
Two villagers make their way through the heavy snow in Yuexi County of Anhui Province, January 20, 2008. The provincal meteorological authority on Sunday issued an orange alert - the second-highest on a scale of five - for heavy snow during the future few days. [Xinhua]
The number calculated to Wednesday morning was up from Tuesday's three million, said an official with the provincial office of disaster relief. The snow had damaged 155,500 hectares of crops, up from 150,000 hectares.
One person was killed by a collapsed roof and 9,252 people have been evacuated from dangerous houses. A total of 5,144 houses have collapsed under the weight of snow.
The weather is estimated to have caused losses of 810 million yuan (112 million U.S. dollars).
Traffic, power and telecommunications were cut in more than 50 towns of the province.
About 40,000 families in southern Anhui faced blackouts after power poles collapsed. The supply was resumed on Wednesday after repairs.
In central China's Hubei Province, three power transmission towers along a major line of the Three Gorges Dam and a link in the central China transmission system were felled on Wednesday morning by heavy snow and thick ice, putting the provincial electricity supply under greater pressure.
Conditions are expected to worsen and the provincial electricity company said it will take at least 50 days to repair them.
Hubei experienced its longest low temperature period since 1969. It witnessed 10 continuous days with temperatures below 0.5 degrees centigrade during 11 days of snowfall from January 11.
The provincial meteorological bureau is forecasting further heavy snows or snowstorms from January 25 to 28, with average temperatures below freezing. The low temperature will be the longest time since 1954 in the provincial capital Wuhan city if it continues to the end of the month.
In southwest Guizhou province, 13 districts and towns are still living without electricity after snow cut coal supplies by road to a power plant.
Power supplies have resumed in four towns and about 11,000 of people have been carrying out repairing work, according to the local electricity bureau.
By Wednesday afternoon, 3,400 travelers were still stranded on roads in Guizhou. Fourteen highways had reopened on Wednesday afternoon. More than 20 million yuan (about 2.8 million USD) of materials were sent to stranded passengers and drivers.
The heavy snow, the worst in a decade in many places, has hit most of the country since January 12, leaving homes collapsed, power blackouts, highways closed and crops destroyed. Seventeen people have died in snow-related accidents.
According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the central government allocated 1.75 billion yuan on Tuesday to affected areas to guarantee basic living standards for people effected.