URUMQI, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Severe weather, including hailstorms and sandstorms, have killed five people and affected 384,900 others in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to local authorities.
A cold front brought gales and dusty weather to 13 cities or prefectures, including Hotan, Kashi and Altay, from April 22 to 24. Temperatures dropped steeply.
Storms destroyed farmland in rural areas and caused power cuts and traffic jams in cities, with economic losses at 1.33 billion yuan (about 212 million U.S. dollars), according to the regional emergency office.
Rescue operations are underway. Victims have been resettled and relief supplies like quilts, tents, flour, cooking oil and drinking water have been handed out, said the office in a statement.
Agricultural departments have organized help for farmers to clear their land and replant crops.