China now faces the grim task of fighting secondary disasters as a result of Typhoon Morakot, Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu warned yesterday.
Major floods are still likely as heavy rainfall persists in the south, and many rivers continue to have high water levels, he said.
Earlier this week, Hui toured the typhoon-hit regions in Fujian and Zhejiang.
More than 20 rivers have water levels above flood-alarm lines in Zhejiang, Fujian and Anhui provinces.
Hui asked relevant departments to strengthen monitoring of flooding and forecasts of other disasters, so as to relocate people as quickly as possible to minimize casualties.
Typhoon Morakot has left eight people dead and three missing on the Chinese mainland after a powerful landing in Fujian on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Of the more than 11 million people affected by the disaster, some 1.57 million have been relocated.
As of yesterday afternoon, Morakot had moved into the Yellow Sea, and will gradually pose less threat to coastal provinces in eastern China.
Ships bypassing Weihai, a city in Shandong that borders the Yellow Sea in the north, east and south, have been asked to stop at the nearest ports, the China News Service said yesterday.
Meanwhile, a massive drought has been declared in northeast China, where rainfall has fallen by 50 to 90 percent since July compared to normal years, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website.
As of Tuesday, the dry spell had affected 65.6 million mu (10.8 million acres) of farmland and caused drinking water difficulties for 810,000 people in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, as well as the Inner Mongolian autonomous region, officials said.
China Meteorological Administration officials have warned that warm weather with temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius and higher would continue for at least the next three days in most parts of northern China, some southern regions, and western Gansu, as well as the southern regions of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
This spring, northern China experienced its worst drought in 50 years, one that at its peak affected 136 million mu of winter wheat in eight major producing provinces.
The drought also left 3.5 million people and 1.66 million livestock with no access to drinking water.
China Daily - Xinhua
(China Daily 08/13/2009 page3)