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January 14, 2010

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Cold death toll rises to 6

THE death toll from the severe cold weather across north and east China rose to six yesterday.

In Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a student froze to death when he got lost after school in windy weather. Police are still investigating another death in the region.

In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, three people were killed in avalanches and another froze to death between January 7 and 12.

More snow is forecast in most parts of Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia this week with temperatures falling by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius, according to China's Central Meteorological Station.

The cold weather has affected millions of people, with hundreds of injuries reported, and at least 8,600 evacuated in northwest China. The snow had also flattened and damaged at least 100,000 homes in Xinjiang.

The economic loss was estimated at 550 million yuan (US$80.5 million) in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.

China's east coast had also been severely affected. Frozen sea water affected the northern Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea. The State Oceanic Administration issued a sea ice alert on Tuesday to cope with the most severe icing in three decades.

In Beijing, the cold weather disrupted traffic and passenger flow on the city's subways rose as people went underground to avoid the cold.

Severe cold weather also caused coal and electricity shortages across China as coal reserves dwindled at major power plants.


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