According to state media, heavy snows in northern China wreaked havoc, killing at least eight people, stranding thousands of motorists and disrupting air travel.
In Shaanxi province, five people were killed in two separate cave-ins, one at a market and the other at an industrial poultry farm.
The Yanzhao Metropolitan News said the collapse of the cafeteria at an elementary school in Hebei province on Wednesday killed three students and left 28 others injured.
Hebei authorities have issued orders to ensure school safety throughout the province, while schools in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang have been closed for three days due to the heaviest snows there in 54 years.
The snow has played havoc with aviation, especially out of Beijing. In one day more than 200 flights were cancelled or postponed at the airport – one of the world’s busiest – after snows blanketed the capital.
AFP reports that the airport in Xian – home to China’s famous terracotta warriors – had to shut down operations twice last week due to snowstorms. More than 200 incoming and outbound flights were canceled throughout the day, the report said, delaying the travel of up to 20,000 passengers.
In a most amazing statement, officials have said the two storms that hit Beijing were artificially induced, sparking anger among capital-area residents, but the extent of the weather manipulation efforts remained unclear.