Fresh Snow Hampers Quake Relief Work
    2010-04-23 11:14:16     China Daily      Web Editor: Han Yueling
 

Five hours of snowfall left the earthquake-ravaged Gyegu town of Yushu county under a blanket of white on Thursday morning, hampering relief work.

The snow started at 5 am and continued until 10:30 am, leaving part of the quake epicenter covered in 3-cm deep snow.

"The snow is not heavy," said Tsering Drolma, a quake survivor living in a tent in the town's central Gesar Square. "Snow is quite normal for this season." 
 
Truck drivers delivering rescue supplies had to drive extra carefully on the ice-covered roads. However, air traffic to and from Yushu has not been affected.

But weather forecasts predicted more snow and gusty winds in the coming days, with temperatures expected to fall by 4 to 6 C.

"The snow has increased the risk of people catching a cold, which may lead to other deadly diseases, given the town lies more than 4,000 meters above sea level," said Qin Rongbin, a medical expert with the rescue headquarters.

Some residents still face a shortage of winter clothing eight days after the earthquake turned the town into a pile of debris.

"I don't have (warm) clothing," said sixth-grader Dele Yongzin. He was wearing just a T-shirt and a pair of trousers as he shivered under a quilt in a tent in the square.

"We haven't been able to set foot outside our tent in the last three or four days because of the cold," said Dele, who shares the tent with three other children.

The four children spend their time reciting an ancient Chinese poem and reading textbooks.

To beat the odds of the wintry weather, rescuers bolstered their efforts to speed up dispatching heating equipment.

A total of 7,000 stoves will be sent to Yushu to help residents stay warm, Pang Chenmin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said at a press conference in Beijing.

The ministry, along with other government departments, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Red Cross Society of China, has allocated 49,480 tents and 164,700 cotton-stuffed coats to the area, Pang said.

They have also allocated 198,900 cotton quilts, 920 tons of rice, 3,680 tons of flour, 400 mobile homes, 20,000 folding beds, 650 mobile toilets and other quake-relief materials to the region.

Among them, 37,600 tents, 117,000 cotton-stuffed coats, 190,000 cotton quilts, 1,170 tons of drinking water and instant food, 100,000 portions of combat rations, and 650 mobile toilets had arrived in Yushu as of Thursday, he said.

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