China steps up efforts to fight floods, droughts

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Rescuers evacuate stranded residents in flood water in Tuojiang Township, Jianghua Yao Autonomous County, Yongzhou, central China's Hunan Province, June 22, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is taking steps to eliminate weak links and tackle potential risks in the fight against floods and droughts, a water resources official said Tuesday.

Since the start of the flood season on March 17 this year, 15 days earlier than usual, China has seen frequent river flooding due to excessive precipitation, said Yao Wenguang, a disaster prevention official with the Ministry of Water Resources.

Floods exceeding the warning level were reported in 417 rivers in 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the country, Yao added, noting that rivers in the Pearl River Basin, which has reportedly entered typhoon season, have repeatedly exceeded the warning mark.

More efforts will be made to improve the river basin flood control engineering system which mainly consists of river courses, embankments, reservoirs and flood storage and detention areas, Yao said.

Key tributaries of major rivers, as well as small and medium-sized rivers, will be managed to ensure unobstructed flow while boosting safety monitoring of small reservoirs and dams, Yao said.

With strengthened forecasts, early warnings, contingency plans and flood prevention measures, relevant departments will promptly relocate people in dangerous areas to safer places, according to the official.

Noting that drought conditions are emerging and developing rapidly in parts of northern China, particularly in Henan, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Gansu, Yao said the ministry has sent three work groups to the latter three regions to aid drought relief efforts.

To cope with the drought situation, China will operate water conservancy projects in a scientific way, further strengthen drought relief measures, and make every effort to ensure the safety of drinking water for people and meet the demand for irrigation water for agriculture, the official said. 

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