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Blizzards Force Evacuation Of 97,000 People In Xinjiang --> Uighurs in China's Xinjiang Province (file photo) (epa) 5 January 2006 -- Heavy snowfall in Xinjiang, a largely Muslim region of western China, has forced some 97,000 people to leave their homes.

Most people were forced to flee after their homes collapsed under the weight of snow, a local official said. Worst affected is the Altai region of northern Xinjiang.

The situation is not expected to improve any time soon as snow is continuing to fall in the region.