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Record Snow Brings Travel Misery to China, South Korea

Record Snow Brings Travel Misery to China, South Korea

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Published by Sachin Kumar
this document contains a few disasters that make 2012 look possible .
this document contains a few disasters that make 2012 look possible .

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Published by: Sachin Kumar on Jan 04, 2010
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01/04/2010

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Record snow brings travel misery to China, SouthKorea
BEIJING (AFP) – Record snow disrupted air and road travel innortheast Asia on Monday, groundingdozens of planes in China andSouth Korea and forcing schools to close in Beijing, with more freezingweather on the way.One person was killed and at least two others were missing in the mountains of central Japan after snowfell across the region.The Chinese capital on Sunday received its heaviest daily snowfall in nearly six decades, the stateXinhua news agency reported.The Central Meteorological Administration reported that up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) had fallen onBeijing and Tianjin over the weekend. While skies were clear in the capital Monday, more snow wasexpected in northeast China.At Beijing's international airport -- where nearly 1,200 flights were cancelled or delayed on Sunday --workers had cleared the runways and the situation was returning to normal, an airport spokesman toldAFP.More than 100 flights were nevertheless delayed and two dozen cancelled as of early Monday, thespokesman said, adding that workers needed to de-ice the snow-covered planes that were stuck at theweekend."I don't remember ever seeing such heavy snowfall in the city," one female Beijinger surnamed Zhou toldtheChina Daily.In the South Korean capital Seoul, around 26 centimetres (10 inches) of snow fell Monday, marking thebiggest snowfall since record-keeping began in 1937, according to the Korea MeteorologicalAdministration (KMA).The blanket of thick white snow forced the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights and about40international flights were delayed, airport officials said.On the roads, up to 30 highways in Beijing and the surrounding areas were closed or only partially opento traffic on Monday, the China News Service reported. Inner-city roads remained icy and covered withsnow.More than 5,000 volunteers were deployed to keep order at crowded bus stops, Xinhua quoted SongJianguo, head of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, as saying.In Seoul, traffic was chaotic, forcing the late start of a cabinet meeting, with ministers stuck in the wintrymess. More snow was expected in Seoul later Monday, but clear skies were forecast for Tuesday andWednesday.The city government in the South Korean capital said it was mobilising 3,500 civil servants and 1,200vehicles to remove snow from all major roads and streets.
 
More than 3,500 schools in Beijing and Tianjin were forced to shut their doors on Monday, giving morethan 2.2 million students an extra day of New Year's holiday, state media reported.Temperatures in Beijing were expected to drop to minus 16 degrees Celsius (three Fahrenheit) onMonday, the coldest in the capital in decades, the China Daily reported.In northern Heilongjiang province, the mercury has already plummeted to minus 36 Celsius, the paper said.Farther east in Japan, police said they had found the body of a climber on Mount Hodaka in central Gifuprefecture. It was not immediately clear if it was the body of one of three climbers who went missing thereat the weekend.Another party of seven were rescued safely after becoming stranded on Mount Terachi, also in Gifuprefecture, due to the heavy snow, he said.The South Korean weather office said snow also fell in North Korea, with at least eight centimetresreported in the western port of Haeju
Flooded Australian town declared disaster zone
SYDNEY – Authorities declared two flooded farming regions in southwestern Australia
natural disaster zones
Monday as residents in one town nervously watched a rising river in hopes that it wouldn't break itslevees.Parts of Coonamble and Bourke districts in
 New South Wales
, several hundred miles northwest of 
Sydney
,have been isolated by floodwaters since
heavy rains
last week. While meteorologists said the worst of therain was over, rivers and reservoirs were still rising from the extra water, and Coonamble's
CastlereaghRiver 
was expected to peak later Monday.
 New South Wales state Premier Kristina Keneally
declared the two districts disaster zones Monday, entitlingthem to
state emergency funds
including loans and subsidies."That will provide much needed longer term help to residents,
 primary producers
, business owners andcouncils," Keneally said while on a tour of Coonamble. "It will help them to rebuild."On Sunday, emergency officials advised 1,200 residents in Coonamble to relocate to safer parts of townaway from the rising Castlereagh River. People rode away in motorboats and ranchers herded horsesand cattle through the
deep water 
to higher ground. Brown water submerged main roads into town.The Castlereagh River was expected to peak at about 17.4 feet (5.3 meters), according to the
Bureau of Meteorology
. The levee stands 19 feet (5.9 meters) high in most places; in others it is as low as 17.7 feet(5.4 meters).Some of the 4,900 residents of the district, however, have refused to leave their properties."I think they've seen the river up and down the last few days, and people don't believe there is a threat,"Coonamble Mayor Tim Horan said Monday. "Once we get a peak, we'll know what's going on, but as far as we're concerned, the evacuation order is still in place, and we still have to encourage people to stickby it."But longtime resident Ken Baker said he was confident the levees would hold, and refused to leave hishouse while his wife and daughter evacuated."I know the river quite well," he told Macquarie Radio. "I've lived here all my life. I'm quite certain in myown mind that I don't need to evacuate."Bourke, a district with a population of about 4,400, was deluged by some of its heaviest rain in a decade,leaving dozens of properties cut off from roads and forcing some farmers to fly livestock to higher ground.The
Darling River 
is expected to overflow in Bourke by Thursday, causing further minor flooding as itswells from rainfall further upstream, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts.
 
Tajikistan earthquake leaves 20,000 homeless
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – About 20,000 people were left homeless in the impoverished Central Asiannation of 
Tajikistan
after an earthquake leveled their homes in a mountainous region, officials saidSunday.No deaths were reported after the magnitude 5.3 quake struck the
Pamir Mountains
on Saturday, theEmergency Situations and
Civil Defense Committee
said.Hundreds of mud-brick houses in several villages in the Gorno-Badakhshansky region were damaged.The quake also cut electricity and communications and blocked the main road between the
regionalcenter 
of Vanch and nearby villages.Those left homeless were placed in
emergency shelters
in schools and other public buildings or moved inwith relatives, Azimjon Shamsiddinov, the deputy chief regional administrator, was quoted as saying bythe
Interfax news agency
.Earthquakes are common in the mountains of Tajikistan, one of the poorest of the former Soviet states.The country of 7.3 million people lies north of 
Afghanistan
and west of 
China
.
Cold spell kills dozens of homeless in north India
NEW DELHI – More than 30 people have died in cold weather-related incidents in northern India in thepast 24 hours, including 10 people killed in train accidents caused by dense fog, police said Sunday.A cold snap left at least two dozen
homeless people
dead in
Uttar Pradesh
state since Saturday, taking thedeath toll from exposure in the region to 40 over the last week, police spokesman Surendra Srivastavasaid. Last winter the state reported 151 cold-related deaths.

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