A brief break in weeks of severe winter weather that has crippled large parts of China allowed troops and police to begin clearing a few roads and rail lines Sunday, but authorities say more snow is on the way Monday and Tuesday.
The winter storm crisis has seriously affected nearly two-thirds of China's provinces and autonomous region. Underscoring the severity of the problem, the Communist Party Politburo's nine-member Standing Committee met Sunday and called for patience as work continues to restore power supplies and transportation.
The official Xinhua news agency says Premier Wen Jiabao returned from a visit to Hunan Province, one of the worst-affected areas. In Chenzhou, a city of four million short of water and electricity for 10 days, Xinhua says Mr. Wen promised conditions would improve soon, because "the government is going all out to help."
More than a million Chinese workers are still stranded in southern city of Guangzhou, where police have scuffled with passengers rushing to board trains after days of waiting. Authorities say a female factory worker from Hubei province died Friday after being crushed in a stampede at the city's rail station.
Xinhua says the storms' overall toll was more than 60 dead as of Friday, and that more recent casualty estimates are not yet available. China says it has suffered $7.5 billion in storm-related damage.
The unusually bad winter weather comes just ahead of the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Thursday.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.