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More emergency funding for drought relief
By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-06 07:47

More emergency funding for drought relief

A child plays with dead clams on a dried-up riverbed on the outskirts of Zhengzhou, Henan province, Feb 5, 2009. China has declared an emergency over a drought which could devastate crops and farmers' incomes.[Agencies]

The central government has added 300 million yuan ($44 million) to 100 million yuan of emergency funding for measures to help those in regions hit by a severe drought, the authorities said yesterday.

Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu held a state conference yesterday to boost relief work in affected regions, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The State Council also sent several teams of specialists to eight drought-hit regions to aid residents with technical expertise and relief supplies yesterday, Xinhua reported.

Local governments should strengthen water management in farmland, adopt effective measures to relief drought-hit areas and speed up the construction of irrigation systems for crops, Hui said.

Timely financial and material support should be directed to affected areas to ensure their basic water needs are met, he said.

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More emergency funding for drought relief Drought threatens China wheat production

The severe drought has hit at least seven provinces since last November, leaving 3.7 million people short of water, affecting about 9.7 million hectares of farmland and endangering more than 43 percent of the country's winter wheat supplies, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said yesterday.

The dry weather has also hit about 1.85 million heads of livestock with water shortages, the ministry said.

The drought is one of the worst in the past three decades for many regions, meteorological agencies said.

The harsh weather has affected 2.8 million hectares of farmland in Henan province in the region's worst drought since 1951, with at least 130,000 residents suffering from water shortages, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Shanxi province has not seen effective rainfall since November, experiencing its worst drought since 1961 with 1.06 million people affected and 190,000 heads of livestock facing water shortages. It issued an orange alert, its second-highest alert level, for the drought on Wednesday.

More than half of the farmland in Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces have been affected by the dry weather, the MOA estimated.

Similarly, Beijing has not seen rain for more than 100 days, a condition considered rare for the past 38 years.

No rain has been forecast for the coming two days with the dry spell continuing in the northern regions, the National Meteorological Center said.

But light rainfall is forecast for Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Hubei provinces on Feb 7 and 8, which is expected to offer some reprieve to the severe situation, the center said.

The authorities will make every effort to enhance capacity for water supply and boost anti-drought measures in rural areas, Water Resources Minister Chen Lei said.

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