Premier Wen urges anti-drought efforts during Spring Festival village visits

16:56, February 03, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday and Thursday visited drought-hit villages and ordered all-out efforts to combat the dry spell while celebrating the Chinese New Year with local people.

When visiting Jiaxiang County and Qufu City in east China's Shandong Province, Wen inspected cornfields and reservoirs to assess the drought's impact.

The drought, which began in October, has hit the southwest parts of Shandong hardest.

"It's hard to know when it will rain. We must prepare for the worst and do our best to combat the drought to ensure a good harvest," Wen said while visiting a reservoir in Qufu.

Wen made the remarks Wednesday afternoon after learning the reservoir was holding a volume of water 8 million cubic meters less than normal.

He told officials accompanying him any drought-caused reduction in grain output may undermine the government's top priority for 2011: the stabilization of prices.

Officials at all levels must work to combat the drought, Wen added.

China's central authorities last week announced an ambitious water conservancy project development plan, to raise China's ability to control flooding and drought.

Under the plan, the average annual government spending on such projects will double the 2010 level.

"The drought affects agricultural output, which is related to the nation's food security and the income of rural people. I worry about it," Wen told a local farmer Wednesday morning.

In the evening, Wen joined Liu Xianglun, 77, and his family at their house to make dumplings to eat to welcome the Chinese New Year.

Before visiting Shandong, Wen visited farmers and workers in Dabieshan Mountain area, an old revolutionary base in east China's Anhui Province.

The Spring Festival, China's Lunar New Year, falls on Thursday.

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