China to allocate 400,000 tons of vegetables to snow-hit regions

Updated: 2008-02-06 16:59

BEIJING - China will allocate 400,000 tons of vegetables, including potato, onion, and white radish, to the snow-hit regions in a couple of days, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has said.

The move aims to ease price pressures in the country's southern, central and eastern regions, including Jiangsu, Anhui, and Jiangxi, during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. Prices of vegetables have surged as the worst snowstorm in five decades has disrupted traffic and damaged vegetables.

The MOC added it has so far allocated a total of eight million candles to the regions blacked out by the severe weather, after it sent Tuesday four million to the hardest-hit regions, including Guizhou, Hunan, and Jiangxi.

The snow havoc has so far killed more than 80 people, toppled 300,000 homes, damaged 90 million hectares of crops, and resulted in direct economic losses of about 80 billion yuan (US$11 billion) in 19 provinces and regions, according to the Red Cross Society of China.

China's rail, highway and air transport systems are returning gradually to normal as the snowstorm eases, but millions of people are still being left in the cold and dark.

Chenzhou, a city hardest-hit by the snowstorm in the central province of Hunan, was not expected to get electricity supplies restored soon. Its four million residents have been left without electricity and tap water for 12 days.

China has so far managed to resume full or partial power service in 148 of the 170 counties and cities nationwide, the State Council said in a  statement late Tuesday.

The severe weather has caused the cancellation of 672 flights in the one day to six p.m. on Tuesday, 334 fewer than a day ago. All the airports,except the small regional ones of Dongying in Shandong and Tongren and Liping in Guizhou, have reopened.

During the period, the number of mobile phone base stations paralyzed by the harsh weather has been reduced by 4,000 to 33,000.

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