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China allocates 70 mln yuan to drought relief
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China's Ministry of Finance announced on Monday it would allocate 70 million yuan (9.46 million U.S. dollars) to finance drought relief programs in south China.


The money would go to the provinces and regions of Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong, Guangxi and Guizhou, said the ministry in a statement.


Since October, scant rainfall and warm weather have caused severe drought in southern regions, affecting more than one million hectares of farmland and resulting in a shortage of water supply in some areas.


From October to November, the Pearl River saw the minimum rainfall in five decades.


Governments of drought-hit regions have taken measures to maintain water supplies.


Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has said the top priority of the current fight against the drought should be maintaining drinking water safety.


Hui, also head of Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH), urged more efforts to prepare for the prolonged drought, which was expected to last until next spring.


The SFDH has issued an urgent circular to concerned departments, requiring them to intensify water conservancy development, take measures to ensure drinking water safety and maintain agricultural water supplies for the winter and spring.


It has sent four groups of experts to supervise drought-fighting work.


To protect water security in the Pearl River Delta, the SFDH also required local headquarters along the Pearl River to collect data on real-time stream flow in the river and closely monitor salt tides from this month.


(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2007)

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