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Vice Premier Urges Good Job in Drought Relief

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has called on governments in all localities to work harder in drought relief and ensure drinking water for urban and rural residents and livestock in drought-hit areas.


Great efforts should also be made to help farmers increase income and promote economic development, said Hui during a four-day inspection tour of Hunan Province in central China that ended Sunday.


Hui is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.


The areas south of the Yangtze River, which is also a leading grain production base in China, has been hit by dry spells since late June due to sustained high temperature and less rainfall.


As of Thursday, more than 6.5 million hectares of arable land in 11 provinces including Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Fujian had been affected by the drought, while 8.65 million urban and rural residents sustained a short supply of drinking water, along with 3.89 million head of draught animals.


Hui visited Hengyang and other cities and counties that are worst hit by the drought, going to crop fields and villagers' homes to study the anti-drought situation and farmers' production and livelihood.


He urged officials to take all means for push forward the drought-relief work and pay great attention to the people's livelihood, with priority given to ensure the supply of drinking water.


Efforts must be made to keep the people from sunstroke, prevent the outbreak of epidemic diseases and guard against fire disasters in the drought-affected areas, the vice premier said.


Hui stressed the importance of unifying and improving water distribution for a better use of water resources, and of helping the drought-hit areas to overcome adversity through greater production so as to reduce losses caused by the drought to the minimum.


It is also important to step up construction of water conservancy infrastructure facilities and gradually improve production conditions, said the vice premier.


Hui pointed out that affected by the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), flooding and drought, there arise new difficulties challenging the efforts to increase farmer's income.


To fulfill the central task of increasing farmers' income, he urged departments concerned in all areas to promote agricultural readjustments, vigorously advance industrialized operations, create more jobs for farmers, deepen rural reforms, speed up scientific progress in agriculture, render more support to agriculture, and develop agriculture and rural economy in an all round way.


During his stay in Hunan, Hui also visited some major agricultural enterprises engaged in industrialized operations and the State Hybrid Rice Research Center.


(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2003)


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