The Heat Is Online

North Asia Paralyzed by Snow, Cold

Snow paralyzes Northeast Asia; Mongolia hit by deep freeze, Jan. 9 2001

Major snowstorms are being blamed for the deaths of at least 32 people in Northeast Asia. The snow has clogged roads and rail lines, cutting off food and medical supplies to thousands of people.

Two separate blizzards have dumped as much as 39 inches of snow in South Korea. In Japan, eight inches of new snow has brought traffic to a standstill.

Convoys of relief trucks have had trouble reaching remote homes in China, which have been isolated since New Year's Day.

The trucks are carrying heating oil, food and animal feed, but have only been able to travel about 60 miles a day because of deep snow.

One of the hardest hit areas is Xilin Gol Meng, located in Inner Mongolia. According to a state-run newspaper, a combination of snow and blowing sand buried the region on New Year's Day.

There were reports that at least 90 people were lost in the storm, but most of them have been found safe.

Local governments have asked the Chinese government for the equivalent of $8.5 million in aid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Snow buries thousands in China, Jan 8, 2001

Local Chinese officials are applying for government aid to buy food for 120,000 people left starving following two devastating snow storms. Meantime, rescuers are searching for dozens of missing people.

A major sand and snow storm struck Xilin Gol Meng, located in Inner Mongolia, on New Year's Day. According to a state-run newspaper, it dumped 14 inches of yellow sand and snow in the region.

Some 90 people were lost in the storm, according to reports. Sixty-five of those victims have been found alive. Some were buried in their homes. Crews were still looking for 25 victims on Sunday.

Fresh snowfall since New Year's Day is making things worse. The storm blocked roads, snapped telephone lines and threatened livestock, which residents depend on for food, shelter and clothing.

Local authorities have asked the Chinese government for 70-million yuan (U.S.D. $8.5 million) in aid, mostly for food for those affected by the storm. Officials are also seeking aid to buy food for livestock, many of which are unable to graze for food because of the snow.

Mongolia caught in deep freeze Jan. 16, 2001

Eight people and more than a half a million animals in Mongolia have fallen victim to freezing temperatures and dwindling food supplies.

Mongolia, a nation sandwiched between Russia and China, has been caught for weeks in a severe winter blitz. Snowstorms with temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius have swept across the region's vast grassland plains, threatening the survival of hundreds of thousands of nomadic herders and some 12 million animals.

International relief agencies are trying to reach remote populations with food for both people and animals. Supplies have run dangerously low following a harsh 1999-2000 winter season, a summer drought and current severe conditions.

The threat to livestock in Mongolia translates into an immediate threat to the human population, as the herders rely on the animals' leather and fur for shelter and warmth, meat and milk for nourishment, and strength and stamina for transportation.