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<-Back to WTN Archives China sends relief to snowed-in Tibet (Reuters)
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World Tibet Network News

Friday, January 2, 1998



3. China sends relief to snowed-in Tibet (Reuters)


BEIJING, Dec 31 (Reuters) - China has mounted a massive relief
operation in Tibet to cope with record snowfalls that have killed
livestock and threatened nomadic herdsmen in the remote region,
official media said on Wednesday.

Chinese regional governments had raised some 34 million yuan ($4
million) to send food, clothing and fuel to counties hit by
nearly constant snowfall since September, Xinhua news agency
reported, quoting a senior Tibet official.

About 50,000 Tibetans were affected by the snowstorms, but no
deaths had been recorded, Ciren Sanzhu, vice-chairman of the
Tibet Autonomous Region's government, told Xinhua.

``So far, there are no reports of people dying from cold or
starvation,'' the official China Daily newspaper quoted him as
telling a news conference in the Chinese capital.

``The regional government has set up rescue teams in the disaster
areas, and damage has been reduced to a minimum,'' he said.

The government had shipped more than 1,700 tonnes of food, 500
tonnes of coal and 40 tonnes of diesel fuel into the disaster
area, where temperatures have dipped as low as minus 40 Celsius
(minus 40 Fahrenheit), he said.

About 100,000 livestock, or one percent of total herds, in the 40
counties most affected had died, unable to forage in storms which
began in September and intensified in December, Ciren said.

Townships and villages suffered blackouts because of the snow, he
added.

The hardest-hit area -- Nagqu county, which lies 250 km (150
miles) north of the Tibetan capital Lhasa -- had reported
snowfall 40 times since September, in what Ciren said was the
worst snowfall since Tibet began keeping records.

The China Daily quoted experts as saying the El Nino effect
brought snow months earlier than normal to the region.

The El Nino weather phenomenon, a warming of Pacific Ocean waters
every two to seven years that affects global weather patterns,
has been blamed for droughts in Southeast Asia and deadly storms
in North and South America.

Tibet, a vast and thinly populated Himalayan region of rugged
beauty with an average altitude of 4,000 metres (13,000 feet),
suffers harsh winters.

China says it has held sovereignty over Tibet, which has a
population of about two million, since the 13th century and that
it has brought development to a formerly feudal land.

Many Tibetans, devout Buddhists, reject that claim and have
periodically protested, sometimes violently, against Beijing's
rule since Chinese Communist troops took control in the 1950s.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. 'Kundun' Steers Away From Hollywood (CSM)
  2. China gets tough on using Internet (PI)
  3. China sends relief to snowed-in Tibet (Reuters)



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