Central China: No Electricity and Stable Water Supply For Over a Week

By John Ruwitch, Reuters, Feb 3, 2008-

CHENZHOU, China (Reuters) – For a freezing city of four million people that hasn’t had electricity or a stable water supply for over a week, Chenzhou in southern China is hanging in there but residents said pressures were building.

The sound of generators and traffic rattled through the slushy but lively streets, and people browsed the few stores that were open for winter coats, shoes, vegetables and bottled water.

The authorities appeared to be racing against time, though, as the price of everyday goods rose sharply, banks were shut, ATMs knocked out, petrol supplies low — and the Lunar New Year holiday just days away.

“We can’t go on like this for much longer,” said Hu Jian, selling cigarettes by candlelight.

Since the temperature dipped to unseasonably low levels and it began to snow here almost two weeks ago, Chenzhou, in Hunan province, has been at the heart of one of China’s worst weather-related transport crises in years…… (more details from Reuters)