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Power Partially Restores in Snow-hit City

Electricity has been partially restored in Chenzhou, one of the worst-hit cities currently suffering the heavy snow that has hit much of China for nearly three weeks, a local disaster relief official said on Sunday.

The central Hunan Province city, home to 4 million people, has been without electricity and running water for over a week because of the severe snow that had damaged power facilities and burst water pipes.

"Although we are busy maintaining some damaged utility poles, more have been falling under the weight of the snow and ice. This has made power resumption still more difficult," said Xu Yun, a Hunan Provincial Power Company official.

A 220 kilovolts utility tower fell on Saturday in the city, halting the maintenance and engineering work.

Liu Zhenya, general manager of the State Grid Corporation of China, said the maintenance of the Chenzhou section grid should be viewed as a critical project so the city's power could be resumed as soon as possible.

Residents were struggling with darkness and cold. Prices of candles and coal balls, for illumination and heating, respectively, have soared.

A new round of snow started to hit the country's central, southern and eastern areas on Friday, adding to the woes caused by previous snowfalls.

Hunan has been one of the hardest-hit areas over the past three weeks.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)

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