welcome to the future

by twit

um, it is snowing “freakishly” in China and signs of chaos are starting to show.

UPDATE: Via the BBC Feb 4, 2008:


Snow storms that have stranded millions of Chinese travellers are a “severe disaster” that will continue for several days, top leaders have warned.

… more snow is expected and heavy fog has also hit central provinces, adding to transport woes.

On Monday, visibility was less than 100 metres (109 yards) in areas including Hunan and Hubei provinces, two of the areas worst hit by the snow, Xinhua news agency said.

About 1.3 million army troops and reservists have now been deployed to help the relief effort.

From the Times Online on Jan 29, 2008:

Chinese New Year sees the biggest human migration on earth, with an estimated 2.47 billion journeys over the holiday season this year — almost double the entire population of 1.3 billion.

… The freakish weather has already affected 67 million people and economic losses so far have been placed at 18.2 billion yuan (£1.3 billion).

… Hundreds of thousands of those workers, many with young children, found themselves stranded at the Guangzhou railway station after snowstorms snapped power lines to passenger trains from neighbouring Hunan province, an important hub for trains on the main line between Guangzhou and Beijing.


Officials struggled to control an estimated 200,000 travellers at the station — a number expected to swell to 600,000 over the next couple of days. Temporary shelter was being arranged for the migrant workers in schools and conventions centres. Soldiers were deployed to stand guard around the station and police barked orders through bullhorns to try to maintain order.


… In a sign of official anxiety that the travel chaos could trigger social unrest, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered local officials to mobilise all possible resource to ensure people get home. He said: “More heavy snow is expected. All government departments must prepare for this increasingly grim situation and urgently take action.”

From the Financial Times on Jan 28, 2008:

China’s transport and energy systems have been caught in a perfect winter storm, with hundreds of thousands of people stranded during the peak travel season after train delays caused by heavy snow and power failures.

The power crisis, the worst in China for many years, has been caused by an acute shortage of the supply of coal, the country’s staple fuel. Brownouts have affected about half of China’s 31 provinces and regions.

From Breitbart on Jan 28, 2008:

Meanwhile, 17 provinces had taken power-rationing measures including deliberate blackouts in some areas, the official added, amid reports many power lines were knocked out by snow and frost.

… The China Meteorological Administration warned of further heavy snow or freezing rain in nine provinces before the situation eases later this week.

The snow has caused more than 100,000 houses to collapse — killing ten people — and damaged 400,000 other homes, Xinhua reported.

the Railway Ministry announced that priority on the nation’s rail system would go to transporting coal, which provides about 70 percent of China’s energy needs, but it wasn’t immediately clear how this would affect passenger traffic.

thx drudge

UPDATE: Via the BBC on Feb 2, 2008:


Frustration as China grinds to a halt

There have been chaotic scenes at Guangzhou railway station in southern China as hundreds of thousands of people delayed by the some of the worst snow storms in 50 years, try to get home to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The government has drafted in nearly 20,000 extra police and soldiers to keep order, but at times they could not hold the crowds back.


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