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Heavy Snow Kills 4 in Hubei, Anhui

Heavy snow in China has killed four people since January 12 in central China's Hubei Province and eastern China's Anhui Province, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing on Monday.

The heavy snow has affected 8.05 million people and 5,750 people have been relocated in the two areas, sources with the ministry said.

Crops covering 557.300 hectares and 9,178 houses have been destroyed, sources said, adding the direct economic loss has reached 1.14 billion yuan (US$157 million).

The snow in Hubei is the heaviest fall in the past 16 years, with 12 cities each reporting accumulated snow over 10 centimeters.

More than 1,000 km of highway, about half of the central province's roads, were closed since Saturday. More then 8,800 of the scheduled 9,500 long-distance coaches departing from Wuhan, Hubei's capital, were cancelled, forcing about 300,000 passengers to change travel plans.

In Anhui, The snow started to hit the areas of Anqing, Lu'an, Hefei and others on January 12. Northern Anhui also registered accumulated snow over 10 centimeters. Yuexi County in the capital Hefei saw its biggest ever snowfall with the maximum depth exceeding 50 cm. Traffic was blocked, while power supply and telephone lines were cut off temporarily in some towns and villages.

(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2008)

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