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China: Blizzards destroy more than 12,000 houses in Xinjiang

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More than 12,049 houses have been destroyed by recent blizzards, including 248 laid to waste from the weekend's snowstorm in Yining County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local authorities said Monday.

The snowstorm from Saturday to Sunday caused an estimated economic loss of 3.6 million yuan (about 530,000 U.S. dollars), an official with the county's government said.

The snowstorm, which hit the northern part of Xinjiang Saturday night, forced the closure of a section of No. 312 National Highway in Ili prefecture early Sunday morning, with snow of up to 50 cm accumulating on it.

More than 200 people had been rescued after eight hours stranded in the snowstorm.

The blizzards since February 1 had affected nearly 87,000 people, and killed 6,800 head of livestock in the county.

Floods and avalanches triggered by the blizzards had blocked 26 kilometers of roads and damaged 22.5 kilometers of roads.

Heavy rain and snow were predicted in the area on Monday, which could trigger more landslides and avalanches, according to the regional meteorology bureau.

Editor: Anne Tang