Extreme weather in China forces thousands of evacuations as heavy snow and ice cause chaos across the country

Video shows shoppers rushing to save three people trapped after snow caused a mall roof to collapse in the Jiangsu province

Ryan Butcher
Sunday 28 January 2018 21:28
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People need rescuing in China after roof collapses due to heavy snow

Extreme weather conditions have caused havoc in much of central and eastern China over the weekend, with hundreds of flights and trains cancelled due to heavy snow and ice, and rescue operations being rolled out across the country.

More than 4,000 people had to be relocated in the eastern province of Anhui after their homes were damaged by snowstorms, with approximately 481,000 people in the province impacted overall.

Rescue workers were dispatched in Anhui to repair power lines and clean snow and ice from roads, while civil affairs authorities sent quilts, coats and food to the affected members of the public.

In the Jiangsu province on Saturday, shoppers joined forces with emergency services in a bid to rescue three people who became trapped after a mall roof collapsed due to the heavy snow, as reported by Chinese media outlet The Paper.

The entrance of the Xinjiekou underground shopping plaza, in Nanjing, fell in on itself at around 6pm due to the weight of the snow and the blizzard-like conditions, with the trapped shoppers eventually being freed and given medical attention.

In the central Hubei province, sections of more than 30 highways were closed due to icy conditions, as reported by the official Xinhua news agency, while three railway stations in Wuhan, Hubei's provincial capital, cancelled more than 100 train journeys.

In Huanghua International Airport in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan province, all inbound and outbound flights were halted on Sunday morning as the runway was covered by ice up to 2cm thick.

Airport authorities had to dispatch more than 1,000 staff and a dozen equipment vehicles for de-icing work.

By around midday on Saturday, 95 flights had been cancelled at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airpoirt, leaving approximately 1,200 passengers stranded.

And on Saturday afternoon, in Changzhou city, also in the Jiangsu province, the second half of the Under-23 Asian Cup final was interrupted for an hour as snow covered the pitch.

Jiansu authorities also had to cancel more than 10,000 long-distance coaches and close 420 bus lines.

The National Meteorological Centre renewed an orange alert on Saturday for snowstorms in central and eastern China, which was downgraded to a blue alert by Sunday, according to Xinhua.

The orange alert is the second-highest in a four-tier weather warning system in China, while the blue alert is the fourth-highest.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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