Four children had died and 35 were injured when two school canteens in northern China collapsed in heavy snow since Wednesday, the local authority said on Thursday.
The canteen of Longfeng Private Primary School at Mingguan Town, Yongnian County, Hebei Procince, collapsed at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday when the pupils were dining, a county government spokesman said.
Two girls and a boy died when the building collapsed after a second day of heavy snow. A total of 28 children were injured. Their identities are yet to be made public, he said.
The 28 injured were receiving treatment at a local hospital. The county government had relocated all the students to other schools to continue their studies on Wednesday night.
The government also issued a notice on Wednesday night, asking all the middle and primary schools in the county to suspend classes for two days to check building safety. In the provincial capital Shijiazhuang, one person was killed, 25 were injured and 68 vegetable greenhouses collapsed due to the snow, a provincial civil affairs department official said on Thursday.
Another canteen collapse in neighbouring Henan Province killed one student and injured seven Thursday morning.
The accident happened at about 7:30 a.m. at Xinyu Middle School in Kaifeng County when students were queuing for breakfast at a prefabricated steel-structured canteen, a county education bureau official said.
Zhang Jiaqi, a seventh grader, died in the collapse. Another three were seriously injured and four were slightly injured. They were receiving treatment at Kaifeng County No. 1 People’s Hospital, he said.
A total of 86,000 people in 10 counties were affected by the snowstorm and the direct economic loss was 76.75 million yuan ($11.2 million), he said.
The snow was expected to weaken later Thursday and the weather would be fine or cloudy on Friday in Hebei, according to the provincial meteorological station.
Snow continued to hit many parts of north China Thursday, causing highway and airport closures.
The Taiyuan Airport in Shanxi Province was closed again at 2:15 a.m.after it was reopened at 9 a.m. Wednesday. It had been closed for 25 and a half hours before the reopening.
About 700 passengers were stranded at the airport. The airport staff are cleaning up the snow on the runway.
The Hohhot Baita International Airport was closed between 7:20 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday and 8:10 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. on Thursday, causing several flight delays. Most of the highways in Shandong Province were closed as snow hit the province Wednesday night. Nine flights to Dalian, Beijing, Lanzhou, Shenyang and Hohhot were delayed or canceled at Jinan International Airport and another flight to Beijing was also canceled at Yantai International Airport.
The snowfall reached 22.5 mm in Yanggu County and Dongying City recorded a snowdepth of 16 cm as of 11 a.m..
Beijing braced for the third snowfall in November early Thursday morning, and road traffic was disrupted at the morning peak, driving passengers to the already crowded subway stations.
Nearly 1,000 sanitation workers had used 528 tonnes of snowmelt agent and 1,320 tonnes of liquid snowmelt agent to clean up the snow on the roads as of Thursday noon. Currently, about 8,000 workers with 1,263 snow sweepers are still working on the major roads in Beijing.
Xinhua reporters saw little traffic on Thursday morning in Zhengzhou City, capital of Henan Province, as snow covered the city for a third day. Many people were walking to work and all traffic police were on the road.
Heavy snow was expected to hit northeast China’s Liaoning Province on Thursday noon and last until Friday night with the highest precipitation of 10 mm, said Jiang Dakai, deputy head of Shenyang Center Meteorological Station.