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Food drops for US storm victims

National Guard helicopters have been dropping food and hay bales in central parts of the US for people and cattle stranded by a major snowstorm.

The blizzard, which began on Friday, brought up to 35 inches (90cm) of snow to parts of the region. At least 12 deaths have been blamed on the weather, and farmers fear the heavy snow could kill thousands of cattle.

The states of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma have all been badly affected. It is the second blizzard to hit the region in as many weeks. The National Weather Centre said better conditions were expected for later this week in all areas affected.

Livestock fears

The snowstorm has left thousands of people without electricity, while telecommunications have also been affected.

The largest amount of snow fell in areas of western Kansas and eastern Colorado, and high winds caused drifts of up to 15 feet (5m).

National Guardsmen used snowmobiles to reach people trapped in their homes, while helicopters dropped military rations outside some houses.

Pilots have been using heat-seeking equipment to locate cattle and began dropping hay to remote herds on Tuesday.

Colorado's agriculture director, Don Ament, warned that some cattle had already gone several days without food and water.

"They're just going to lay over dead if we don't do something soon," he said. Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association said some cattle had died, but preparations before the storm might have curbed losses.

"The final tally of any impact related to livestock death will be later in the week as snow starts to melt off," he said.

The storm caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights from Denver's main airport over the weekend and Interstate 25 - the main road through Colorado state - was closed.

A few roads remained blocked on Tuesday although work was continuing to clear the snow. Twelve people were killed by the storm - mostly as a result of traffic accidents caused by the hazardous.

BBC

 

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