Workers race to repair power link to Shanghai as snowfalls cause havoc

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2008, 12:00am

Repair staff are working around the clock in a mountainous area of Anhui to restore the electricity line from the Three Gorges Dam to Shanghai, which has been cut by heavy snow since Thursday.

A 500kV electricity line collapsed under an accumulation of snow and four power pylons were severely damaged in the Dabie Mountain, which has seen snow depths reach 30cm. Workers have had to use snowmobiles to get to the area, with many people mobilised to push other vehicles carrying equipment and repair materials, Xinhua reported.

Anhui Electric Power has 450 people working on the repairs and has sent 10 tonnes of repair materials. The four damaged pylons weighed a total of more than 150 tonnes.

The national grid has been using backup lines to transmit electricity from the Three Gorges Dam to Shanghai, but a complete repair is unlikely before the Lunar New Year because more snow is forecast.

Cold weather and heavy snow have struck unusually large swathes of central and eastern China, forcing the closure of roads, causing accidents and disrupting flights.

In Hubei , which has been experiencing its biggest snowfall in 12 years, at least 1.1 million people in 27 cities have been 'affected' according to Xinhua, with 11 killed.

One person was crushed under a collapsed petrol station roof in Wuhan and an old woman died when her collapsed. Nine others died in snow-related traffic accidents.

The Anhui Provincial Bureau of Civil Affairs said the snow had affected 2.84 million people in the province and caused 400 million yuan in direct economic losses. A villager from Lujiang county was killed when her kitchen collapsed.

Snow was also blamed for forcing the closure of roads and cancellation of scores of flights in Hubei , Henan , Shandong , Jiangsu , Shanghai and Anhui.

The National Meteorological Centre issued an orange alert on Sunday, the second-highest, for more snow in central and eastern parts.