Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) speaks by
a loudspeaker to the stranded passengers at the Railway Station of
Changsha in central China's Hunan Province on Jan. 29, 2008. (Xinhua
CHANGSHA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has rushed to Hunan to help with the central China province's disaster relief work following an unprecedented snowfall.
Wen flew out of Beijing on Monday night but had to land at Tianhe Airport in neighboring Hubei Province because of the bad weather in Hunan. He then completed his journey by train and arrived in Changsha City, the provincial capital, on Tuesday morning.
Upon his arrival, he immediately held meetings with officials from Hunan and those in departments under the State Council on how to combat ice and snow and how to better direct the disaster relief work.
In Changsha railway station, Wen offered early Spring Festival wishes to the stranded passengers.
"I am deeply apologetic that you are stranded in the railway station and not able to go home earlier," Wen told the passengers by a loudspeaker. "We are now doing our best to fix things up and you will all be home for the Spring Festival," he added.
The Premier also visited the family members of three electricians who died on Saturday when cleaning the ice from a transmission tower.
Zhou Jinghua, Luo Haiwen and Luo Changming of the Hunan Electric Power Transmission and Transformation Company were thrown to the ground when a 50-meter tower collapsed. Zhou died on the spot and the other two workers died later in the hospital.
"As I face you here today, I cannot find enough words to express my condolence. Please accept a bow from me," Wen said as he bowed to them.
The snow, the heaviest in decades in many places, has been falling in east, central and south China for more than a fortnight. It has caused deaths, structural collapse, blackouts, highway closures and crop destruction.
A total of 24 people had died in the country because of the weather since Jan. 10, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Monday.
More than 77.86 million people had been affected by the snow in14 provinces, including Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan, by 2:00 p.m. on Monday, according to the ministry.
Hunan and the western Guizhou Province have been the worst hit by the unprecedented spell of severe weather.
The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) issued a red alert early on Monday for severe snowstorms in the central and eastern parts of the country.
It warned local governments and departments to prepare for more bad weather. Transport, railway, electricity and communication departments were advised to prepare post-snow clean-ups, while citizens in these areas were asked to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities..
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (1st L,
front) shakes hands with a stranded passenger at the Railway Station of
Changsha in central China's Hunan Province on Jan. 29, 2008. Wen Jiabao
arrived in Changsha on Tuesday to help direct disaster relief work in the
central Chinese province, which had been hit by appalling weather.(Xinhua
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