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Freezing temperatures in northern China trigger alert

As the country braced for the mercury dip, President Xi Jinping called for 'all-out efforts in emergency response', state media reported Friday evening.

China on Saturday issued a low-temperature alert, warning the mercury could drop to historic lows in some areas of the country, one day after President Xi Jinping urged “all-out efforts” to ensure safety.

The freezing weather comes on the heels of this winter’s first snowfall in Beijing, where the public transport system faced delays, flights were cancelled and slippery tracks caused a metro collision Thursday evening that injured more than a hundred people.

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The country’s meteorological authorities on Saturday morning issued a low-temperature warning that forecasted a cold wave across “the greater part” of China that will last until Tuesday.

State news agency Xinhua, meanwhile, cited authorities in saying “some areas in northern China and regions along the Yellow River and Huaihe River might see their temperatures near or break record lows for the same period of the year”.

Defying the already frosty weather, tourists in Beijing braved biting winds Friday at the portion of the Great Wall located in the mountains surrounding the city, where the iconic monument sat covered in a thin layer of snow.

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Unusually cold weather is also expected to extend into other parts of China, with Saturday’s official warning adding that temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius or lower in coming days were expected in the southern part of Guizhou Province — about 300 kilometres from the border with Vietnam.

As the country braced for the mercury dip, President Xi Jinping called for “all-out efforts in emergency response”, state media reported Friday evening.

Facing “high disaster risks” posed by the impending cold spell, “Xi said close attention must be paid to the disaster prevention and relief work”, Xinhua reported.

“Coal, power, oil and gas supply capacities need to be strengthened, and work needs to be done to secure energy supply and ensure the people stay warm,” said Xi, according to Xinhua.

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The freezing temperatures follow a summer of record heat and devastating flooding in northern China, as climate experts warn of an increased risk of extreme weather caused by global warming.

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