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Nearly 2,000 Stranded Passengers Rescued in Xinjiang

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Nearly 2,000 passengers stranded by blizzard in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have been rescued, local highway administration said late Wednesday.

The passengers in more than 200 vehicles had been stranded on a highway in northwest Xinjiang since Tuesday night after the traffic was halted by thick snow blown on the highway by gale wind.

Highway maintenance department responsible for the Huocheng section of the 312 National Highway quickly sent snow bulldozers to clear the road. As of 8:00 AM Wednesday, the traffic began to resume slowly.

Northern areas of Xinjiang have been suffering from the worst snow in 60 years, with snow accumulating to 50 centimeters deep on the average and 1-2 meters in mountainous areas, since late Sunday.

The snow has delayed flights, closed highways and caused casualties.

Disaster relief goods including quilts, tents and food had been provided by the central and regional governments and the Red Cross Society of China.

(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2010)