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Vice Premier Urges to Minimize Flood, Drought Loss

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said Saturday that local governments must safeguard large and medium-sized reservoirs on major rivers, and minimize losses caused by floods and droughts.

Hui, a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, made the remarks at a national flood control and drought relief work meeting held in the capital of central China's Hubei Province.

From June 8 to 11, Hui, who is also chief of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, visited major flood control projects on the Yangtze River, Chinese longest river. The sites include the Three Gorges Project, Jingjiang Dyke, Jingjiang River Flood Diversion Area, Honghu Lake Flood Diversion Area and Longwangmiao Embankment, where he inspected safety of reservoirs and diversion areas, and visited with the officials and people.

This year's flood control has entered a crucial stage, said Hui. The climate is changeable and the rain belts are unevenly located, said Hui.

Flood control and drought relief at major rivers matters to the whole national flood control, drought relief situation and China's economic and social development, said Hui. Therefore, governments and flood control departments at all drainage areas must fully realize the severe situation and make full preparation, he noted.

Localities must improve forecast of disastrous weathers and closely monitor changes brought by weather and floods. Extra efforts must be made on safety of reservoirs, prevention of mountain torrents and typhoons, Hui said.

In addition, Hui urged local authorities at small and medium-sized rivers, small and medium-sized cities and towns and rural areas to strengthen flood control work.

Also on Saturday, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said that the flooding in major Chinese rivers is stable, but the drought in southwest China's Yunnan Province is severe.

Yunnan has received less than 50 millimeters of rainfall in the central and northwestern parts of the province since May 25. To date, the drought has affected 667,000 hectares of farmland and drinking water supply to more than 7 million people.

Southeastern parts of Sichuan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region were also affected by droughts, said the headquarters.

On the other hand, continuous rainfall has raised the water level at rivers in part of central China, but the seven major rivers, which include the Yangtze and the Yellow River, are not facing flood threat, said the headquarters.

From Friday to Saturday, torrential rains hit southern part of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China, provinces of Hunan and Henan in central China. Water levels of Dongting Lake in Hunan and the Yangtze River were raised slightly.

In Guangxi, flood peak at Xijiang River has passed the key flood control city Wuzhou. Water level of Huaihe River in central regions is also rising but will not exceed the alarm line, it said.

In the coming three days, heavy rain will hit parts of south and southwest China, and some places may receive gales, thundershowers and hails, according to weather forecast by Central Meteorological Station.

In the coming 10 days, the main rain belt will be in southeast, south and southwest parts of China with the rainfall more than in previous years in most places, it said.

The headquarters urged localities to closely monitor flood and drought situation and safeguard reservoirs.

(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2005)

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