Provinces relocate 330,000 residents for water project

08:12, August 13, 2010      

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More than 330,000 residents in Hubei and Henan provinces have begun to relocate their homes as part of a massive project to divert water from the Yangtze River system to thirsty North China, including Beijing.

The national TV station, CCTV, reported Thursday that the South-North Water Diversion Project will be China's largest relocation program since the building of the Three Gorges Dam, which saw 1.27 million people moving their homes.

Authorities began moving the first 500 residents on Wednesday in central Hubei Province. A total of 180,000 people in Hubei and 150,000 in Henan Province are to leave their homes.

"We felt sorrow when the whole village gathered to have our last dinner in our hometown together," a resident surnamed Wang said.Wang's town in Danjiankou city will be submerged by 2014 under 170 meters of water.

A fleet of 15 buses carried the residents away, followed by 34 trucks loaded with their belongings and a number of ambulances carrying the village's sick, elderly and pregnant.

"We may set a record in terms of speed of relocation - 60,000 people within 50 days. We want to do it fast so we can finish it before the rainy season hits," Danjiang-kou Mayor Zeng Wenhua said.

The people were being moved to new homes 300 kilometers away, and will receive a one-off payment plus subsidies for the next 20 years, the report cited Zeng as saying, without specifying amounts.

The massive diversion project features a 1,890-kilometer eastern canal and a 1,430-kilometer central section.

Source: People's Daily Online/Agencies


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