BEIJING — More than 5,400 people have been evacuated after northwest China's Xinjiang region was hit by a strong blizzard that left one person dead, reports said Sunday.
The Civil Affairs Ministry said heavy snow flattened about 800 homes and damaged nearly 5,000 others in Xinjiang's Tacheng and Altay regions in the past week, according to the state-run news agency.
The blizzard sent temperatures plunging and also resulted in disruptions to electricity supply and transport, Xinhua said, in the latest of a series of cold-related problems in northern China.
A recent cold spell has caused havoc as heavy snowstorms caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights at Beijing's Capital International Airport and closed highways and rail lines. Millions of commuters also struggled to get to work for several days.
The bitter cold has prompted authorities to order rotating shutdowns of hundreds of factories in central China to ensure sufficient power to heat homes.
Last winter, some areas of China suffered blackouts after power companies let coal stockpiles run low due to high costs and snowstorms disrupted supply efforts. China relies on coal for about 70 percent of its power.
The ministry has allocated 5,000 tents for the evacuated in Xinjiang, as well as cotton-padded coats and quilts, Xinhua said, with Xinjiang's regional government setting aside 15 million yuan ($2.2 million) for relief work. (AP)