BEIJING – BEIJING (AP) — Homeless earthquake survivors huddled in thin tents against strong winds Thursday while traffic slowed on ice- and snow-slicked roads, the latest challenges to recovery in mountainous far western China.
Snow started falling early Thursday in Yushu county, the center of the disaster, and more was expected through Saturday, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
More than three centimeters (1.18 inches) had fallen as of 8 a.m. (0000GMT), Tsering Tashi, deputy head of Yushu's meteorological bureau, told Xinhua.
Thousands of people were left homeless by the April 14 quake in the remote Tibetan corner of western China. The death toll stood at 2,183 with 84 people still missing Thursday.
A 42-year-old electrician working to restore the local power supply died Thursday from the effects of altitude sickness, Xinhua reported. Yushu is about 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level.
About 80 percent of the army aid workers from outside the region have had altitude sickness, Qin Rongbin, a medical expert with the relief headquarters, told Xinhua.
In Beijing, a spokesman for the Ministry of Civil Affairs said earlier problems in getting aid to the region, a 12-hour drive from the Qinghai provincial capital, had been resolved.
The ministry spokesman, Peng Chenmin, also said he didn't know about an order issued in recent days for thousands of Tibetan monks to leave Yushu after rushing there and being the first to help rescue survivors and bury victims.
"After the disaster happened, the central government brought in a large number of rescuers while lots of monks also participated, which can be seen in many media reports," Peng said.
"It's a good thing which represents the spirit of ethnic unity that Tibetan and Han are from the same family and together we overcome difficulties."
China's government is dominated by the majority Han Chinese.
Yushu is more than 90 percent Tibetan, but amid hours of coverage for the national day of mourning on Wednesday, no monks were visible in the official proceedings.
State-run broadcasters spotlighted instead the efforts of the military and the People's Armed Police as they delivered tents, water and food, and lifted injured people from crumbled buildings.