China Faces Coldest winter in 100 years

Last Revised on February 5, 2008

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China faces the freezing weather that has stranded millions. Millions of people in China were celebrating the biggest holiday of the year as parts of the country suffered their coldest winter in a century. Freezing weather has killed scores of people and left travelers stranded before the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival the only opportunity many people have for a holiday all year.

Roads and railways tracks, some of which have been blocked for days, have started to move again, and fewer flights were being cancelled, state media said, offering a glimmer of hope. It has also brought China unwanted negative publicity six months before the Summer Olympics in Beijing. President Hu Jintao chaired an emergency Politburo meeting on Sunday for the second time in a week to discuss rescue efforts.

The nations such as United States and Singapore pledged emergency aid of $150,000 and $500,000 respectively, Xinhua said, as several other countries sent condolence messages. This weather is the coldest in 100 years in central Hubei and Hunan provinces, going by the total number of consecutive days of average temperature less than 1 degree Celsius, which is 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The China Daily quoted an economic planning official as saying power plants in Beijing and Shanghai had only enough coal for less than seven days.

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