Increased irrigation efforts and light rainfall have helped to ease the severe drought in northern China. About 9.6 million hectares of farmland have been irrigated in recent weeks -- that's around 60 percent of the total area suffering from drought.
Farmers irrigate wheat land in Caoxian County in Heze City, east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 10, 2009. Thirty floodgates are opened in Shandong Province to draw water from the Yellow River to irrigate the wheat fields in fighting against the drought and reducing damages. [Zhang Xiaoli/Xinhua]
In northwestern China's Shaanxi Province, about 40 percent of drought-hit farmland cannot be irrigated. Instead, technicians are helping farmers use chemicals and spray-guns.
Gong Yi, who is a technician, said, "The chemicals are used to reduce evaporation from the leaves and make the roots absorb more water."
In northern China's Hebei Province, the severe drought has led to a 30 percent increase in power use compared to last year. The province's power supplier and meteorological services are cooperating to manage power. At the provincial power control center, a meteorological service platform displays weather details around the province.
Anhui Province in the eastern part of the country is ensuring farm machinery is running smoothly. Farmers can have their machines repaired for free after calling a 24-hour hotline.
Shanxi Province in northern China has always had a tight water supply. The province hasn't seen any significant rainfall since November. It is using water from the Yellow River for irrigation. And agricultural authorities are working to prevent plant diseases and pests from spreading.
Wang Linwang, Deputy Director of Shanxi Flood Control & Drought Relief Office, said, "Spring irrigation has started now from the south to the north of the province. We are enlarging the irrigation area using all kinds of water resources."
Liang Jiangang, Shanxi Agricultural Department, said, "We'll inform farmers of diseases and insects ahead of time, to reduce losses as much as possible."
In other drought-hit areas, such as Hubei Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, trucks are busy transporting water to people in remote drought-hit areas.
(CCTV February 13, 2009)