BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Eleven electrical workers have died while trying to restore power to Chinese provinces that were plunged into darkness by the country's worst snow storm in 50 years, the state media reported Tuesday.
A worker cleans ice off an electricity tower in Guilin on Wednesday.
Chinese officials have power running in some parts of the country, but vast swaths of the central and eastern region remain in the dark following storms that began January 10, the news agency Xinhua said.
The snow storm is expected to gradually ease in the next five days before a milder snow and rainy weather hits the southern region, forecasts show.
Slowly, the country seems to be getting back on its feet.
Monday brought welcome relief to millions of Chinese migrant workers desperate to see their families, as the nation's transportation system inched toward getting back on track after being paralyzed by the historic winter storm.
Still, as some roads open, more and more images of devastation from the past couple of weeks became apparent. CNN saw an auto manufacturing plant -- perhaps half a kilometer long -- in Xiangtan, part of Hunan province, that had collapsed under the weight of snow and ice.
The government has already estimated damage from the storm at more than $7 billion. And the more pressing concern was getting supplies such as heating oil and food to areas that had lost power and been cut off days ago.
The storm struck 19 out of 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in the Chinese mainland, Xinhua said. It has been blamed for 63 deaths -- 25 of them when a bus slipped off a mountain in icy conditions in southwestern Guizhou province.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said at least 223,000 homes have been crushed and another 862,000 damaged, according to Xinhua.
Nearly 1.8 million people have been relocated in the past two weeks, Xinhua said. E-mail to a friend
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