YUSHU, Qinghai - Snow continued to fall on the earthquake zone in China's rugged northwestern plateau Tuesday, halting traffic and slowing delivery of the badly needed relief.
Since Monday night, roads leading to the quake-stricken Yushu county in Qinghai Province experienced snow and rain, adding to the difficulties in delivering relief goods, said a local weather expert.
In some parts, snow on the road accumulated to 4 centimeters in depth and in others, ice formed on the surface making it dangerous to drive on, said Ma Yuancang, deputy head of Qinghai provincial meteorology bureau.
Trucks, vans and cars are lined up on the main national road linking Yushu with the provincial capital of Xining, where most of the relief goods and rescuers are being transported into the quake zone. Local traffic officials said they would put slide-proof rugs on the road and use heavy machineries to break the ice.
Ma said the weather in Gyegu, the hardest-hit town in Yushu near the quake's epicenter, will remain overcast Tuesday with some drizzle.
Temperatures in Gyegu might fall below freezing in the coming nights, weather forecasters said.
Gyegu sits on the plateau about 3,700 meters above sea level and more than 80 percent of the houses there -- mostly made of mud and wood -- had collapsed during last Wednesday's quakes, with the strongest measuring 7.1 in magnitude.
The government said as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, the death toll had climbed to 2,046. Thousands of soldiers, police, medical workers and volunteers had joined the rescue operations.
Three people, including a four-year-old, were saved on Monday, after being buried in the rubble for around 130 hours. State television on Tuesday reported that rescuers, using heat sensors, again found signs of life in the ruins. But there was no immediate report of another miracle.
While still searching through the debris for any further survivors, rescuers have started the massive resettlement of homeless residents and quake zone reconstruction.
Authorities said cotton tents, quilts, cold-proof coats and stoves were especially in need due to the cold weather.