Chinese workers and army soldiers were racing to sweep snow-covered highways and unclog railway routes for millions of travelers trapped by cold weather. More than 67 million people have been affected by the weather and economic losses are expected to reach as much as $3 billion.
Blizzards have snapped power lines and destroyed houses and farmland, prompting fears of food and energy shortages. Twenty-four people have died and some 827,000 people have been evacuated in 14 different provinces, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Over the past week snowstorms have hit the provinces in central, eastern and southern China. The snow has hit places that are used to mild winters, not extreme wintry blasts.
The snow and sleet have paralyzed roads, railways and airports, leaving tens of millions of travelers marooned. Many of them are bound for home ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, which falls on February 7.