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Page added on January 29, 2008

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Travellers describe China chaos

It is estimated that 500,000 people are stranded in the southern city of Guangzhou as they wait for train services to resume. Paul Surtees was among the crowds on Monday.

The railway stations in Guangzhou are a scene of horror, with countless thousands of desperate and freezing people besieging them.

As you approach Guangzhou’s main station, people are standing shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get into the station. The plastic marquees put up outside by authorities do little to keep people warm in freezing conditions.

Those people inside the station daren’t leave for fear of losing their chance to travel. But trains aren’t going. So people are literally living there and have been for days. Whole families have camped out there setting out newspapers on the floor and settling down. The huge expanse of the station concourse is a sea of bodies.

There are only a dozen toilets, so people relieve themselves on the station concourse. I saw human faeces. The amount of mess is indescribable.


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