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Aid Flows to Quake Survivors as Snowstorm Hits Tibet

The worst snowy weather that has gripped the eastern part of Tibet Autonomous Region since Sunday has worsened the situation in the October quake-hit zones, but aid has been flowing into the region.

Temperature in Damxung, an outer county in Lhasa, the regional capital, and also the worst hit area by the 6.6-magnitude quake of October 6, has dropped below zero degrees centigrade, after snow started to fall Sunday.

And it started to snow in Yangyi Village, a village in Damxung of where nine residents died, 18 injured and 171 homes were destroyed in October 6 quake, early Monday, and by late night the snow was four centimeters deep.

"There is no doubt quake survivors in Yangyi will pass a warm winter: there is ample supply of necessities for life, alongside a good stock of fodders for sheep and cattle in winter, and of firewood and cow dung for making fire and keeping warmth," said Zhang Yiquan, deputy chief of Damxung County Government.

Civil affairs departments in the plateau region were busy sending relief materials such as tents and foodstuffs to quake zones in Lhasa, as well as those in Xigaze and Shannan, two other areas bordering Lhasa, to make sure that quake survivors could spend the winter with places to live, and food to eat and clothes to wear, said Ren Hongru, an official with the relief operation section of the civil affairs bureau of Tibet.

According to Ren, Tibet Autonomous Regional Government has allocated 9.2 million yuan (about US$1.31 million) in emergency relief fund for quake survivors in Tibet to well spend the winter.

Relief materials sent to quake zones in Lhasa, Xigaze and Shannan include 2,430 tents and 2,120 cotton quilts, said Ren.

"Local civil affairs departments were told to pay close attention to disasters caused by the snowstorm, especially damage situation in quake zones, and to do a good job of storing up and transferring work so that relief materials could reach victims once disasters do occur," said Ren.

Tibet autonomous regional weather observatory claimed Tuesday the snowstorm that started to affect parts of Tibet Sunday was the worst of the kind since the plateau began to take weather records.

The snowy weather will continue in most parts of Tibet, but it will be on the wane from Thursday on, according to a forecast given by the regional weather observatory on Tuesday.

The heavy snow has left two people missing and blocked roads in many places in Tibet. Armed police are struggling to clear roads to restore traffic.

An avalanche, plus a landslide occurred again at 10:00 AM on Tuesday on the Sichuan-Tibet road which had 160 km of sections covered with snow as of 9:00 PM on Monday, according to Chen Jun, a leading armed police officer who was at site to oversee the work for restoring traffic on the trunk road to Tibet.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2008)

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