02/07/2024, 13.20
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Travel chaos in China as heavy snowfalls threaten Lunar New Year

by John Ai

Snowstorms disrupt travel plans for millions of families set to reunite, especially in central China. This has led to the cancellation of flights and train trips while thousands of vehicles are stuck in long traffic queues on motorways.


Wuhan (AsiaNews) – Millions of Chinese are trying to reach their hometowns to celebrate Lunar New Year with their families, but the country’s transportation system has been disrupted by a cold snap, especially in central China, for almost a week.

Many flights and train trips have been cancelled or delayed due to snow and icy conditions. Many travellers are trapped at train stations or airports, while many motorists are stranded in their vehicles on roads.

The snowfall is so intense that in some cases roofs have collapsed, causing deaths and injuries.

As the traditional Lunar New Year nears, millions of Chinese are trying to reach their ancestral home by next Saturday, 10 February, despite the worst winter weather since 2008.

Just a few days before the New Year, the cold has disrupted transportation in several provinces in central China, including Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Henan.

Still, China’s Ministry of Transport is forecasting that this year’s travel season to be a record one; around 480 million railway trips are expected over the holiday period, up by 40 per cent over 2023, largely because pandemic-related travel restrictions were lifted last year.

In 2024, the weather has become the main obstacle for people who want to celebrate New Year's Eve with their family. Since last weekend, train services have been either cancelled or delayed in Hubei and Hunan provinces, as well as Shanghai.

Hubei is currently the most severely affected, with the Wuhan airport temporarily closed.

Things are not much better for road travel with thousands of vehicles stranded in the snow. On a stretch of highway in Hubei, vehicles have formed a queue for more than 100 kilometres since last Sunday, 4 February.

With vehicles trapped, thousands of people have been left without food, some forced to walk in the snow to find something to eat. Some have started collecting wood to light fires and keep warm.

Residents of several villages near the highway have brought food and water to people trapped in their cars. Meanwhile, the authorities are employing thousands of people to remove snow and ice from roadways and rail tracks.

The snowstorm also caused accidents and some fatalities. A roof collapsed at a market in Nan Yiyang County (Hunan), killing one person.

The same thing was reported at a market in Qianjiang (Hubei). Due to the weight of the snow, the roof caved in, resulting in one death.

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See also
Three billion passenger trips in China for the Year of the Pig
24/01/2019 15:47
New Year paralyses Guangzhou station with 100,000 people stuck waiting for a train
03/02/2016 18:51
Celebrations for the Year of the Rooster begin
Yuan continues its rise as China is covered in snow
More snow and it is an emergency right away


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