Chinese girl at risk of losing hands after clearing snow without gloves

A teenage girl is at risk of losing her hands after spending three hours clearing snow at a school in northeastern China without gloves, according to media reports.

Lu Yanyan, 13, spent three hours working in freezing temperatures at the school in Heilongjiang, where average daytime temperatures at this time of year are -10 deg C, news portal Kankanews reported on Monday.

The school's principal said the school would help pay for her medical costs, but also told the news site that he was not sure if the school was wholly to blame.

The whole class had been ordered to clear snow upon arrival at Taipingzhuang Middle School in Anqing on New Year's Eve, the report said.

She spent three hours clearing snow with her classmates under the supervision of her teachers before complaining that her hands had gone numb.

The school did not offer to provide gloves while she was working.

"My hands hurt, but gradually they became numb and I couldn't feel anything … I asked my teacher when we could stop working, and was told that there was so much snow and he had no idea," the girl was quoted as saying.

She is now under observation in hospital, with the fingers of her right hand swelling to double their normal size and partly turning black.

Doctors said the swelling could go down with time, but warned they might need to amputate part of her hands if she does not recover within two weeks.

The head teacher, who was not named in the report, confirmed that the injury occurred during a school activity.

He told the app that the school was raising funds for the pupil's medical fees and would not shirk its responsibility.

However, he also said that "for the time being, I'm not sure if it's all the school's responsibility" and suggested that a third party should be brought in to decide who was to blame.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.