After the drought, now comes heavy rains(2)

09:13, June 07, 2011      

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Zheng Guoguang, the head of the CMA, told China National Radio (CNR) on Monday that drought-hit provinces will be basically relieved from the effects of the drought this month as the rainy season begins.

He added that local authorities should not slacken their efforts to fight the drought, as water levels remain low in many of central China's major lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

According to a statement from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, there are still 2.15 million people suffering water shortages in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, about one million less than before the rainfall.

Although Jiangxi recorded 80 millimeters of precipitation between June 3 and 6, drought continues to blight Jiangsu Province, which saw a mere 3 millimeter of precipitation during the same period, the statement said.

As of on Monday, 2.31 million hectares of farmland in the region still lacked water for irrigation, even though the ongoing rain has helped 1.49 million hectares of farmland.

Li Guoxiang, a researcher with the Rural Development Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that drought does more harm to China's rice production than floods, one reason why authorities warned against the early withdrawal of anti-drought efforts.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index, which tracks 55 food-commodity items, rose to 232 points in April, up 36 percent from a year earlier.

Citing unnamed analysts, CNR reported that China's consumer price index (CPI) in June could rise by 6 percent year-on-year.

According to the World Meteorological Organization last month, global food output may be hurt as climate change could result in more extreme weather over the next decade, with China likely set for severer droughts and countries in North America getting heavier rains.

Ma Jun, the director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, warned that governments need to step up environmental protection efforts, as more losses would be recorded with deteriorating ecological conditions.

"Though it is still unknown whether human interference is the reason for the abnormal weather in many countries, there is a clear tendency of climate change that is a challenging issue for the whole world," Ma said.

Separately, floods triggered by downpour have left one person dead and 15 others missing in southwest China's Guizhou Province, the province's civil affairs bureau said on Monday, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The heavy rains, which have struck parts of Guizhou since June 3, have impacted 200,000 people in the province and forced the evacuation of more than 60,000 residents from the region, according to the bureau.

Liu Linlin contributed to this story
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