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Gov't Braces for Severe Flood, Drought Scenario
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Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Monday called for early preparations to combat floods and droughts this year, noting the predicted scenario is "relatively severe".


"According to climate forecasts, weather conditions will be relatively poor this year. The flood and drought scenario is also relatively severe," Hui told a meeting of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters in Beijing.


Hui, who heads the headquarters, said some regions had experienced abnormal weather since the beginning of last winter. North China, the western part of northeast China, the eastern part of northwest China, the Yellow River-Huaihe River plain and some southwestern regions, in particular, suffered sustained droughts.


Zhang Zhitong, vice director of the office of the headquarters, said last week that rainfall in these regions since the beginning of spring was 20 to 50 percent less than normal.


Months of drought had strained the supply of water for spring plowing, industrial production and domestic use in the north and south.


Headquarters records show that 13.9 million hectares of arable land had been hit by drought and 6.95 million people and 5.46 million head of livestock had faced temporary shortages of drinking water this year.


Forecasts of imminent temperature rises and windy weather mean the drought situation could deteriorate and seriously affect spring plowing and sowing.


Hui called for early preparations for possible disaster situations, emphasizing the priority to safeguarding lives.


(Xinhua News Agency April 11, 2006)

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