Severe snow disasters hit bulk of Qinghai Tibetans

18, Mar 31’08 (webbed, Mar 12)

Some 1.65 million people were left snowblind and frostbitten, 500,000 livestock and wildlife dead and 3.1 million others on verge of starvation as a result of severe snow disasters in Tibetan prefectures of Qinghai Province, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 1.

The report said the province was in grip of low temperature since Oct’07, which plunged to -36.3 degrees centigrade in Jan’08. It said that in Yushu, Guoluo (Tibetan: Golog) and Huangnan (Tibetan: Malho) Tibet Autonomous Prefectures, most of the grassland was covered by snow, usually 16 to 32 cm thick, causing great losses to local animal husbandry.

The afflicted prefectures were reported to have caused 130,000 people to run out of fuels, left 350,000 people in need of food and 110,000 others without adequate warm clothes or quilts, the provincial government was cited as saying.

The province’s immediate task was reported to be to evacuate 11,000 people of 2,000 herdsmen-households because the local conditions were said to be not fit for people to live there any longer.

On Mar 11, Tibetan herdsmen, including a nine-day-old baby, were rescued in Dari (Tibetan: Darlag) County of Guolou (Tibetan: Golog) Prefecture, after being trapped on the snow-covered 5,000-metre high Bayan Har Mountai for 40 days, reported Xinhua Feb 12. The county was reported to be one of the worst hit and rescue was carried out after two of them managed to come out to seek help. The county reported 306 frostbitten herdsmen and 108 others who suffered snow blindness, the report said.

Another Xinhua report Mar 12 said that nearly 1,000 Mongolian gazelles, blue sheep and wild donkeys had perished in Maduo (Tibetan: Matoe) County of Guoluo Prefecture during the mid-January to early March period. The deaths were caused by extremely low temperatures of minus 37 degrees Celsius and inadequate grass supply. Most grasslands were reported to be covered by five-centimetre thick snow and ice in the last 40 days.


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