Snowstorms in Northern China Crush Buildings and Claim Lives

November 14, 2009 Updated: November 14, 2009

Heavy snowstorms swept through northern China, leaving dozens of buildings collapsed and many injured and dead. The snow also interfered with traffic and travel plans.

From Nov. 9 to 12, the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi and Henan experienced the heaviest snowfall in 60 years. The capital of Henan, Zhengzhou city, got a foot of snow.

Dozens of buildings in Shanxi, including farmer’s markets, gas stations and school cafeterias, collapsed under the weight of the snowfall. A middle school in Kaifang County suddenly caved in on the evening of Nov. 12, killing one student and injuring seven, according to China Youth Daily. Other schools have experienced roof collapses, but no casualties were reported.

At least 10,000 vehicles and 30,000 people were stranded in Shanxi as a result of the storms, according to China National Radio. Nearly 500 traffic accidents in the area resulted in 70 people injured and 34 dead.

The heavy snow caused the Xianyang International Airport to close for five hours. More than 80 flights were delayed and 10,000 passengers were stranded, according to Xinhua.