the five Ws

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2008, 12:00am

Your primer to an issue in the news


Extreme winter weather is causing chaos across China as millions of people try to return home in time for the Lunar New Year.


Central, eastern and southern China have been badly hit by heavy snow and sleet.

These regions are accustomed to milder winters and not equipped to deal with the freezing conditions.


Unusually heavy snow fell in central and eastern China last week. It was the heaviest seen in the area for 16 years.


More than 20 people have been killed since the severe weather began.

At least 170,000 are stranded in Guangzhou railway station and thousands more are stuck at other railway stations, bus terminals and airports.

It is estimated that 77 million people have been affected.


How is the government trying to deal with the situation? Premier Wen Jiabao told officials to 'urgently mobilise and work as one to wage this tough battle against disaster'.

Authorities are sending mass text messages, urging people not to travel and add to congestion.

And the government's top economic planning agency has pledged to ensure an uninterrupted supply of coal and power, limiting the amount of electricity that can be used for industrial purposes.