Spectacular fireworks have ushered in the Chinese New Year, but not everyone is celebrating. Millions of people are spending the holiday in miserable conditions, with power and essential services cut off by the worst weather in a century. Chinese leaders spent New Year’s eve visiting badly-affected areas.
One city in the south of the country has been without power for three weeks. Scores of people died in snow-related incidents in the runup to this public holiday, with millions of people delayed as they tried to return home for celebrations.
And it is not just power that has been cut off. “Everyday we use water from the fire hydrant,” said one woman in Chenzhou in Hunan province. “We carry five or six buckets of water up to our home every day. I hope the city government can do something about this. It’s so difficult.”
Observers say many parts of the country simply were not prepared for such bad weather. Officials insist they are working hard to restore services.