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10/15/2008

Snow leaves 400 quake-zone families in the cold in NW China

URUMQI, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Quake-hit Wuqia County, a mountainous area in the far west of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was hit by an early winter when the first snowfall on Tuesday left more than 400 families in the cold, local authorities said.

After several days of rain, the snow began to fall early on Tuesday, lowering the temperature to minus 3 to minus 4 degrees Celsius in the 7,800-square-km quake zone, according to the county meteorological station.

"My house has cracks and I dare not live inside any more," said herdsman Muzhali, who built a yurt in the courtyard in Ulugqat, one of four towns hit by the quake. The cold draft blew in from almost everywhere, leaving his wife with a cold.

"We need a cotton tent," said Tursun, 58, holding a three-month-old baby in her arms. Her family and another 20 villagers crowded in a temporary yurt without enough room to lighta fire.

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake jolted the county on the evening of Oct. 5, affecting 7,645 people. More than 700 houses suffered structural damage, while four collapsed

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