Heavy snow leaves 19 dead in north, central China
Heavy snow unseen in decades has left 19 people dead in north and central China since Monday, the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced Friday, Xinhua reported.
The death toll in seven provinces did not include the 19 who died in traffic accidents, said a statement posted on the ministry's website.
It did not detail the causes of the deaths, but four children had been reported dead when two school canteens collapsed after heavy snow in Hebei and Henan provinces since Wednesday.
Almost 160,000 people had been stranded on roads or evacuated from their homes, the statement said.
More than 7,000 buildings collapsed and more than 2 million mu (133,000hectares) of crops were affected, causing direct economic losses of around 3.5 billion yuan (513 million U.S. dollars).
Heavy snow began to fall Monday on north and central Chinese provinces, including Hebei, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Hubei, Shaanxi and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Beijing also experienced heavy snow, but no deaths had been reported so far.