January 6, 2006

Heavy snow in west China forces 100,000 from homes

BEIJING (Reuters) - Heavy snowfall in the far western
Chinese region of Xinjiang and temperatures as low as minus -45
degrees Fahrenheit have forced the evacuation of almost 100,000
people, the state weather bureau said on Friday.

Rescue teams have rushed to the area where up to one 3.3 ft
of snow has fallen since late December, the China
Meteorological Administration said on its Web site

Snow has blanketed the eastern province of Shandong too,
cutting off roads and grounding aircraft, as China chills in
what the China Daily said this week was the coldest winter in
20 years, though Beijing has yet to experience significant snow

Summer temperatures in 2005 were also the highest since
1951, and the eight typhoons that made landfall in China last
year were the highest number since 1949, the newspaper added.

China was beset by droughts, floods, typhoons and blizzards
in 2005 which caused the highest level of economic losses in
five years and killed almost 2,500 people, the government said
this week.

With some 15.7 million people left homeless by disasters
last year, the government said it welcomed donations from
companies and private individuals to supplement official aid