Feb 4, Channel New Asia

GUANGZHOU, China : Millions of Chinese workers battled for a precious train ticket home on Sunday as authorities flew in emergency food and medical supplies to areas stranded by the worst weather in 50 years.

China's top leaders warned that the country faced a grim relief task as supplies were airlifted to the snowbound southwestern province of Guizhou and neighbouring Hunan where many people have been without power for more than a week, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The warning came after President Hu Jintao chaired a meeting on Sunday of top Communist Party leaders to examine the relief effort.

"We have to be clear minded that certain regions in the south will continue to undergo icy weather caused by rain and snow and severe disasters will continue," they said in a statement afterwards, according to Xinhua.

"Relief work will remain very grim, posing a tough task on us," they said, adding that getting stranded people home and ensuring transport and power supplies were the top priorities.

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photo: City workers clean the snow from a street in Nanjing, China.