In subtropical Guizhou
Province, normally there is no need for having heating
devices at home in winter, but now it becomes imperative
for us to get iron heating stoves or hot-water bags. Charcoals
were initially sold for 300 yuans per hundred kilograms,
on the second day of the power cut, the price went up to
500 yuans. And it keeps rising, from 800 yuans, 1000 yuans
to 1200 yuans (AUD$200), although there is news saying
some of those who demanded high price have been fined.
The another high demand product is candle, which was 40
cents each previously. Since the power cut the price at
one point soared ten-fold. There is no fuel at petrol stations,
and you’ll have to purchase it from black market, which
cost 8 yuans per litre.
Many restaurants have shut down, while those still open,
they have to make rice noodle and tofu in old ways - with
stone grinder. Fortunately, the mobile connections are still
active, the problem is how to find a place to recharge batteries.
According to my mother’s friend working at the Food Bureau,
there are only about 10 tons of rice in the city, as without
power, the fresh rice crops cannot be threshed. Vegetables
are scarce, since few peasants are able to come to the town
to sell the fresh cuts. Water pipes have frozen, and we have
to use hot water to thaw the pipe.
Life is tough right now, but what makes me truly miserable
is when I see my six-month old baby running fever, having
diarrhea by catching cold. I lit a charcoal fire in the room,
which can only raise the temperature to about 8 or 10°C.
Even so, there is too much smoke from the fire for the baby,
and I have to carry her outside from time to time. Her voice
becomes hoarse from crying day and night, and my heart is
broken. For a while I was so depressed that I felt I had
been stranded on a desolate island.
Today I have a chance to read news on the Internet and learned
Premier Wen is visiting disaster areas in Human and President
Hu is working on the emergency plan to restore power supplies,
friends from northern provinces have posted tips on how
to survive a cold spell. All these make me feel the warmth
in the heart, as I realise I’m not alone. There are so many
people who do care about us.
Powerless Nights (1)
New Year's Eve Dinner