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Preparation for Floods, Droughts Highlighted

Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu recently highlighted preparation efforts for fight against possible floods and droughts, in a bid to ensure security of major rivers, large reservoirs and traffic arteries as well as enough water supply for daily life of both rural and urban residents.


Hui made this remark during a five-day inspection over dykes, reservoirs and major flood control projects within the Haihe River valley from Sunday to Thursday.


Covering an area of 318,000 square kilometers, the valley includes Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, Hebei, Shandong and Shanxi provinces and Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.


"The flood and drought prevention work within the valley is very important due to its strategic location as well as the dense population and numerous cities it contains," Hui said.


He considered the Haihe River likely to face flood disasters as its river course and estuary had been severely silted up.


Long-term droughts and over-exploitation of underground water have also caused tension on water supply in this valley in dry seasons.


He urged local governments to set up a comprehensive system combining disaster relief, water supply and ecological protection, which is also required to be adapted to the economic development of the entire valley.


Meanwhile, Hui reminded governments in other valleys to get well prepared for possible floods and droughts, which can be predicted from abnormal weather conditions this year, by reinforcing dangerous reservoirs, strengthening flood control and drainage capacity of cities and promoting water-saving irrigation and related measures in both rural and urban areas.


Statistics show that floods and droughts led to economic losses totaling 200 billion yuan (US$24 billion) last year in China.


Floods hit 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, damaged 20 million hectares of farmland, destroyed 2.45 million houses, and affected 220 million people. Droughts hit northeast China last spring and south China last summer, affecting 25 million hectares of farmland and 24.41 million people.


(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2004)


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