China - Snowstorms OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref. OCHA/GVA - 2000/0009
China - Snowstorms
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
20 January 2000

Situation and damage

1. Since October 1999, the northern provinces of China, in particular Qinghai, Inner Mongolia and Xingjiang, have been suffering from persistent and heavy snowfall precipitated by the cold air and low temperatures. According to a report issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the Chinese Government on 18 January 2000, the damage caused by the snowstorm is as follows:


From 1-21 October 1999, unrelenting snowstorms covered Zhiduo county in 43-66 cm of snows. Accumulated waterfall reached 53 mm in Yushu prefecture, and Zhiduo county-waterfall levels were the highest recorded in the province, measuring around 67.3 mm.

According to initial statistics, more than 50,000 people and close to 1,000,000 livestock were affected in 58 villages of 16 townships in the 4 counties (Zhiduo, Qumalai, Chenduo and Angqian). 11 townships of Zhiduo, Qumalai and Angqian were seriously affected.

Inner Mongolia

During the latter half of October 1999 and up to 6 January 2000, snow fell almost continuously in the leagues of Hulunbeier, Xilinguole, Wulanchabu and Xingan and in the cities of Chifeng and Tongliao. In some places the thickness reached 70 cm.

In 24 counties or banners and 260 townships, altogether about 300,000 herdsmen were affected and around 15,000 livestock were killed. The direct economic loss caused by this disaster is estimated at more than CNY 30 million (USD 3.6 million).


At the turn of the year the northern and eastern parts of Xingjiang were subject to two heavy snowstorms. 29 counties of Yili, Ataile, Tacheng, Changji prefecture, and the Haomi area of eastern Xingjiang were seriously affected. A blanket of 70 cm of snow veiled most of the counties of Xingjiang.

11 people, including 9 from Yili prefecture were killed as a result of the snowstorm, and more than one million were affected. 100,000 livestock were killed. A substantial number of farm buildings were either damaged or collapsed. Vegetable crops were buried and lost, and fruit trees were withered by the snow. Infrastructure, including electrical power, roads and communication facilities, underwent heavy damages. The direct economic loss is estimated at more than CNY 300 million (approx. USD 36.3 million).

National Response

2. Disaster management seems to be under control at provincial level. The Ministry of Civil Affairs has released funds to help the three provinces and local governments have provided additional and timely funding as well as manpower for relief work such as reconnecting roads and communications, transporting food supplies and animal feed to the affected areas, promoting the reproduction of livestock and protecting female livestock in the production process.

International Response

3. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is in close contact with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Beijing, China, and will revert with further information if the situation warrants it.

4. No request for international assistance has been received by OCHA to date.

5. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack/Mr. R. Mueller/Mr. S. Matsuka,
OCHA Disaster Response Branch, direct Tel. +41-22-917 21 44 / 31 31 / 40 34

Press contact: Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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