China snow white

image: forest in Nanjing, Getty images.

More images: (1) BBC          (2) Sydney Morning Herald

BBC report

The heaviest snow in decades is continuing to cause chaos across China ahead of the busy Lunar New Year holiday, state media have reported.

Road and rail links have been paralysed, thwarting travellers trying to return home for the festivities. A blocked rail line has stranded about 500,000 people in the southern city of Guangzhou and officials are working to prevent riots, reports say.

The snowstorms, which began on 10 January, have now affected 80 million people across 14 provinces. Houses and agricultural land have been destroyed, leading to economic losses totalling Y22.09bn ($3bn, £1.5bn), Xinhua said.

<In Guangzhou, about half a million people have been unable to travel because snow in Hunan has blocked a key rail link with Beijing. Officials were trying to accommodate the stranded passengers, who were creating camps around the station. Police and soldiers were also on the scene to control the crowd, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Highways connecting Guangzhou and Hunan have also been blocked, with 20,000 vehicles stranded on one expressway, Xinhua said.

Power shortages

Power shortages have also become a problem, with Premier Wen Jiabao warning of serious difficulties.

Due to the rain, snow and frost, plus increased winter use of coal and electricity and the peak travel season, the job of ensuring coal, electricity and oil supplies and adequate transportation has become quite severe,” he said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Stockpiles of coal – upon which many of China’s power stations depend – are low and 17 provinces have introduced blackouts to ration power.

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4 Responses to China snow white

  1. earthpal says:

    That picture is stunning Matt.

    Talking of blackouts, we had a power cut on Friday night which lasted for about an hour but it wasn’t the only one. A few nights ago, another area suffered a blackout which lasted for several hours and just last night as I was driving through the other end of town, there was yet another power cut. The officials are saying it’s been due to bad weather or internal faults but it’s all making me wonder.

  2. matt says:

    We’ve had sporadic blips in power outages around here over the last few weeks.

    In South Africa it’s even worse. Blamed on a surging economy and slack energy investment plans from the government.

    Gordon Brown would probably quite happily see power outages across the UK just as parliament sits to ratify (or not) plans to build more nuclear power stations.

    P.S. I love that photo too!

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    Count yourselves lucky. Our power was out earlier this week for 14.5 hours, and the phones were down for several hours after the power was restored. While we’ve had longer periods without electric service, this one was rather maddening, as it was the result of half and hour of high wind, gusts of 70 MPH, that knocked down a few trees across power lines. While, taken by itself, this would be understandable, our local Government granted monopoly utility company refuses to spend any money on prevention, even though we experience some variation on this situation every year. It would seem that it’s cheaper to fix things after they break, allowing thousands of people to have cold dark nights, than to make the investments which would make the system safe against known risks. Oh, and just to add insult to injury, they’ve petitioned the local Government to raise their rates. Please, someone, build a better battery so I can cut the wire!

    the Grit

  4. earthpal says:

    Lol. Maybe we would be wise to accustom ourselves to this ‘basic’ way of life.

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