Snowfalls, irrigation ease China's severe drought

08:16, February 11, 2011      

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China's drought control authorities announced Thursday that hours of snowfall and irrigation have eased to some extent the severe drought in parts of the nation.

Rapid spreading of the dry spell in the country's winter wheat producing regions has been curbed by wide-spread snowfall in the areas along the Yangtze, Huaihe and Yellow rivers and in the country's northern part on Wednesday and Thursday, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said in a statement on its website.

Drought-hit areas in Henan and Anhui, which are two major wheat-producing provinces, were reduced by 6.3 million mu (420,000 hectares) and 4.1 million mu, respectively, from Wednesday, the statement said. The agency added that irrigation also contributed to easing the effects of the drought.

The statement said that as of Thursday, eight drought-hit provinces had irrigated 143 million mu of drought-affected wheat producing areas, which accounts for 52 percent of the combined winter wheat producing areas in the provinces. The eight provinces include the territories of Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Anhui, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and Jiangsu.

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the drought had affected 101.28 million mu of crops nationwide and left 2.81 million people and 2.57 million heads of livestock short of drinking water, said the statement.

Cloud seeding on Wednesday and Thursday during a recent cold front, also helped alleviate drought in some regions, according to a report posted on the website of the China Meteorological Administration on Thursday.

The report also said that the artificial precipitation had mitigated the shortage of moisture in the soil in parts of Henan and Anhui. The situation is expected to improve as the rain and snow continues.

However, experts urged more measures from local governments to ensure winter wheat production since the current precipitation is not adequate to "completely ease the drought", the report said.

Source: Xinhua
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