Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged local officials to make greater efforts to fight against desertification and improve the living conditions of impoverished people in drought areas.
Hu made the appeals during his inspection tour to Ningxia, a sandy and drought autonomous region in northwest China, from Wednesday to Saturday.
"We should strengthen our efforts on desertification prevention and control by relying on the power of the public and advanced technology," Hu said.
Hu asked local officials to make continuous efforts by sticking with environmental improvement goals and contribute to the construction of a "green wall" in the country's western regions.
He visited families and village clinics in Xihaigu, a storied poverty-stricken area, urging officials to try their best to accelerate the development of the area and improve the livelihood of the people.
China has 174 million hectares of sandy areas that are mostly located in northern and western regions. These areas affect the lives of 400 million people and cause losses of 50 billion yuan (about US$6.5 billion) a year.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2007)