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Floods to hit three big river valleys
( 2003-06-13 23:48)

Heavy floods are likely to hit regions along the Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe rivers in the coming rainy season in July and August, the Chinese flood control authority warned Friday in Beijing.

The warning was based on a forecast that a rain belt is forming in those river valleys.

Zhang Zhitong, deputy director of the State Flood Prevention and Drought Control Headquarters told a Beijing press conference: "A lot of data and forecasts indicate that the possibilities of deluges in the three rivers are building up this year.

"We need more effort to fight against floods as they have not occurred for years in the region.''

Some sections of the rivers have problems with silt, which creates many difficulties for flood control, said Zhang.

The Yellow River last experienced what was considered heavy flooding in 1958, while it was in 1963 for the Huaihe and in 1991 for the Haihe.

The China Meteorological Administration has warned that two rain belts will form over northern and southern China during the coming rainy season.

The northern rain belt will affect most parts of North China (Beijing, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Tianjin), the Yellow River valley and southern parts of Northeast China (Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces). The southern belt is set to strike the Yangtze River valley and South China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hong Kong and Macao).

Zhang called for increased effort to preventing flooding and drought to better protect people's lives and property.

He said the variable weather so far this year and the rainfall imbalance between the south and north of China have again exposed the country to the danger of both flooding and drought.

The deputy director said the task of flood control and drought relief was still strenuous, and all the relevant departments must remain vigilant and take effective measures.

A massive overhaul must be launched nationwide to inspect the quality of all major water conservation projects, while emergency squads must be organized and disaster relief materials be stored in case of severe floods, he said.

Meteorological departments at various levels are required to make timely and precise weather forecasts to help predict floods.

Zhang also expressed serious concern over the prolonged drought that has been hitting some parts of North and Northeast China.

There has been a sharp drop in the water level at the Harbin section of the Songhua River in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Since April, the water level of the 900-kilometre river has been at its lowest recorded point.

The river's width has narrowed from more than 1,000 metres to 300 metres. Navigation has had to be suspended on the river.

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