Chinese lawmakers attending their annual session have called for guarding against possible flooding of the country's longest river Yangtze.
The warm winter of last year, the one with longest duration in recent years, is a sign of recurrence of the El Nino, which has been usually accompanied by serious droughts and floods in China, warned Zhang Rongguo, an expert of water conservation and a deputy to the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
The last El Nino that affected China in 1997 and 1998 was accompanied by long droughts and high temperatures in the northern part of the country and catastrophic floods in the southern part, especially the Yangtze River valley.
Zhang Rongguo warned provinces and cities to make full preparations against possible floods, although researches have not confirmed any direct links between serious floods of the Yangtze and the El Nino.
Chinese government has invested more than 50 billion yuan (US$6.02 billion) in construction of flood control facilities along the Yangtze. Of the total figure, 28.2 billion yuan (US$3.39 billion) was used to reinforce dykes along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze in recent three years.
It is learned that the goal of the central government to make major dykes of the Yangtze withstand floods of a severity seen once in 100 years is expected to be realized soon.
(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2002)