Tibet blizzard: Thousands of livestock killed

PC: Xinhua/AP

Thousands of livestock have been killed after heavy snow and blizzards hit Tibetan areas of western China.

One house collapsed and hundreds of people were left without water or electricity. Disaster-hit villages in the area are above 5,000 metres and workers were seeking to clear roads covered in up to 45cm of snow to ensure the delivery of supplies. The gruelling task has been made more difficult by high winds and drifting snow.

Local authorities sent vets, medicine and animal feed to the hard-hit areas in Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau.

What is a blizzard: A severe snow storm with strong winds

  • Sustained wind or frequent gusts for three hours or longer

  • Speed of winds is 35 mph or more

  • Considerable falling and/or blowing snow

Tibetan villagers in the area depend heavily on livestock, mainly Yaks, goats and sheep, for their livelihoods and to feed their families.

In Nyalam County, near the border with Nepal, firefighters removed snow which blocked the doors of residents and visited locals urging them to be cautious when using heaters in their homes, reminding people of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Tibet, which is home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, gets bitterly cold in the winter.

Harsh winters are routine in the Himalayan region that long fell within Tibet’s traditional borders.

In the capital Beijing, only light snow fell although temperatures dipped below freezing.

Source: Xinhua, AP