With a major relocation program to improve conditions for
farmers near completion,
Shaanxi Province, in northwest China, has poured in 12.5
million yuan (US$1.54 million) since 2000 to improve homes or help
residents move to better areas.
And millions of farmers in the province are set to benefit from
better quality water in the coming years.
An improvement scheme will target supplies for 5 million farmers
who only have access to water containing high levels of chemicals
Measures have already been taken over the past five years to
improve general living conditions.
By the end of 2005, some 290,000 households in Ankang region
have been enjoying new kitchen stoves which replaced the old ones
that caused fluorine and arsenic poisoning, and about 31,000
farmers were moved to better locations, said Han Guoqin, an
official with Ankang municipal government.
Currently, there is believed to be about 3 million farmers in
the province suffering with endemic diseases, such as
iodine-deficiency, and fluorosis-related illnesses.
And there are also 13 million farmers with unsafe or inadequate
water supplies, according to Shaanxi Provincial Water Resources
"In the following five years, we plan to provide a safe water
supply for 5 million out of the 13 million farmers who are drinking
contaminated water," said Hong Xiaokang, deputy director of the
"We plan to supply tap water for 45 percent of the total rural
region in Shaanxi."
Yan Shengfa is among the last group set to benefit from the
current general improvement measures.
Han revealed: "Yan and some 2,800 other people are the last ones
to be moved from the mountainous areas to our newly planned
villages, and this work will be complete within 2006."
The 41-year-old farmer lives in Zhusigou Village in Ankang,
He told China Daily that he was due to be moved from his
village, which has been suffering from high levels of fluorine.
He said he believed the new settlement would give him a new
Yan lives in a small mountainous village with 16 households
totaling 108 villagers. They are living a poor life because of
adverse natural and geographical conditions, as well as fluorine
At present, there is no public transport linking Yan's village
with the outside world. And some of them are too sick to work
because of endemic diseases.
In 2005, the total annual income of Yan's six-person family was
about 5,000 yuan (US$617), which was mainly made by his daughter
who was working in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's
"But we were also helped by the local government, which provided
free schooling for our children and paid some medical expenses for
me," Yan said.
It is thought there are more than 3 million farmers in the
province suffering with iodine deficiencies and fluorosis-related
(China Daily March 2, 2006)