Heavy snow, sandstorm strand rescuers at airport (3)

10:58, April 26, 2010      

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The strong wind has damaged 85 percent of the more than 400 Mu (26.67 hectares) vineyard in Xinjiang's Turpan Prefecture, a place known for its grapes and Hami melons, said Liu Xinsheng, secretary of the prefecture's Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"One third of local farmers' income come from cashing grapes and Hami melons and the wind would slash farmers' income," said Liu.

But experts say that sandstorm's frequency has been on a downward spiral thanks to the reforestation efforts over the years.

Inner Mongolia has 8.6 sandstorms in Spring on average between 2001 and 2010, while the previous decade saw 11 Spring sandstorms annually, according to the region's Ecological and Agricultural Meteorology Center.

Gao Tao with the Inner Mongolia Meteorological Bureau said that sandstorm's current annual frequency was only half of that between 1950 and 1980. And as for the three sandstorms in the region in 2010, the sand was from Mongolia rather than China.

Source: Xinhua
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