www.TibetanReview.net, Mar 31’08
The lives of more than 60,000 people were affected, over 90,000 livestock and around 10,000 wild lives, including nearly 5,500 Tibetan Gqazelles, killed in Ganzi (Tibetan: Kandze) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province due to extreme cold and loss of pasture to snow covers during the mid-January to early March period, reported China’s official CRI (China Radio International) online Mar 15, China Daily newspaper Mar 10 and Xinhua news agency Mar 7.
“I have worked here for about 27 years. But I’ve never seen such a disaster before,” The Tianfu Morning Post was reported to have quoted He Peizheng, director of Ganzi’s forestry administration, as saying.
The China Daily report said over 4,000 Tibetan gazelles had perished in Shiqu (Tibetan: Sershul) County after it was hit by ten snowfalls since Jan 13. Luo Ze, deputy chief of the county’s meteorology bureau, has said that on average, the county was covered with snow 20 cm thick, with the thickest snow being 60 cm.
The severe weather affected 90 percent of the county’s 70,000 residents, Luo was quoted as saying. Shortages of food, water, forage, medicines, quilts and fuel were reported to be the major problems facing the farmers and herdsmen. Nearly 2,000 people suffered from frostbite, Xiao Yanzi, deputy county chief, was cited as saying. A large number of livestock was also reported to have died.
Located at the junction of Sichuan and Qinghai provinces and the Tibet autonomous region, the report said Shiqu was known as the “forbidden zone of life”, with its lowest temperature being -37.8 C and its oxygen content being less than half of China’s inland areas.