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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 08:35 GMT
Power problems continue in China
Electricity pylons damaged by heavy snow in Chenzhou in China's southern Hunan province (05/02/2008)
Officials said 11 electricians have died while restoring power lines
A total of 39 Chinese counties still have little or no power following the nation's worst weather in decades.

Power has been restored to 17 million households, according to state media, but more than 130 counties remain affected in some way.

A total of 11 electricians have now died while working on power lines.

Heavy snow and ice has killed dozens of people, and left millions stranded as they try to get home for the Lunar New Year celebrations later this week.

Four million people in Chenzhou in central Hunan province were entering their 11th day without power on Tuesday.

Residents had to queue for water and food, and there were reports of cash running low as supplies were unable to reach the city.

A resident who gave her name as Hong told the Associated Press that people were taking turns to use water.

"It is extremely cold and inconvenient. I haven't had a shower for about 10 days," she said.

'Arduous task'

People collect water from a fire hydrant in Chenzhou, Hunan province (05/02/2008)
People in Chenzhou had to queue for food and water

At a press conference in Beijing, a spokesman for the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) said the main task was to ensure that power was restored to all towns before the major new year celebrations.

"Since time is running out, our task is still an arduous one," said chief engineer, Gu Junyua.

He said that Chenzhou had power for three hours on Monday evening before it failed again.

The commission also said that power supply in 131 of China's more than 2,000 counties was affected, and that 39 of these counties still had little or no electricity.

Transport across China is beginning to recover after nearly two weeks of disruption.

Flights have resumed from all affected regions, but Xinhua reported that 47 flights were cancelled due to heavy fog on Monday and 1,006 flights were delayed in the eastern cities of Hangzhou, Nanjing and Changzhou.

The weather is estimated to have affected more than 100m people and caused 54bn yuan (3.8bn) of damage.

Premier Wen Jiabao said recently that Chinese people must "have faith" that the situation could be overcome.

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