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Construction of Better Irrigation Facilities Urged
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Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said Thursday that more efforts should be made to build better irrigation facilities following the severe drought this year.

China experienced unusual climate changes this year causing various natural disasters, said Hui at a meeting of the State Council.

Some areas suffered the most severe drought in 50 years, leaving 11 million people and thousands of livestock short of drinking water. Direct economic losses have reached seven billion yuan (US$875 million).

Although rescue efforts had restricted the damage, the disasters reflected the urgency of improving irrigation facilities, said Hui.

Anti-drought projects, reservoirs and river courses should be priorities to be improved in case of flood and drought, said Hui.

The vice premier also called for more efforts to establish safe drinking water projects in the rural areas and ecological projects to guarantee the country's sustainable development.

He said the mechanism of government investment should be improved to ensure the steady growth of construction funds for irrigation facilities.

Hui also called for strict implementation of central government's policies on rural development and tighter monitoring of possible animal diseases for the rest of the year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2006)

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