After the drought, now comes heavy rains

09:13, June 07, 2011      

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People watch the fast-flowing Jishui River in Dexing, Jiangxi Province after days of rainfall caused the river's water level to surge. (Xinhua Photo)

Heavy rains in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China have eased the drought in the region, but authorities warned that ensuing floods could further hamper the country's crop production amid soaring inflation.

Provinces that had been ravaged by a long dry spell, such as Jiangxi and Hunan, are expected to experience torrential rains until the middle of the month, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said in a statement on Monday, warning related departments to be on the alert against possible floods.

Rainstorms in Loudi, Hunan Province since the beginning of this month have triggered floods and mudslides and forced the relocation of 16,000 people, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

The water level in the Tuojiang River, which passes through the renowned scenic spot of Fenghuang, surged by more than three meters after 10 hours of downpour, stranding hundreds of vehicles, reports said on Monday.

By press time, the torrential rain and ensuing floods in Hunan had affected more than 1.2 million people in four cities and prefectures, and caused 580 million yuan ($89.51 million) in direct economic losses.

Over 11,000 hectares of farmland in the province, one of the country's major agricultural production areas, were destroyed.

In Jiangxi Province, one of the drought-afflicted regions, heavy rainfall since the beginning of June has not only prompted local authorities to lift the level-4 drought emergency, but also shifted their focus to the possibility of floods and landslides.

Huang Xianyin, 41, a villager from Xinjian county, Jiangxi Province, told the Global Times that he had transferred his farmland to other villagers to avoid heavy losses during the extreme weather.

"The drought has been relieved with rain these days. I plan to see whether the water level in Poyang Lake has risen," he said, referring to the largest freshwater lake in China that has shrunk to just one-tenth of its area during the same period in 2010.

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Source: Global Times

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