China in crucial moment in flood control, says minister

08:24, June 20, 2011      

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Severe floods triggered by heavy rains will continue to threaten southern parts of China and bring the country into a crucial moment for flood control, Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said Sunday.

There are increasing possibility that downpours, with enhanced frequency and intensity, will continue to lash the country's southern regions, Chen, also deputy head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told a meeting in Beijing to discuss flood-control measures.

Chen urged local authorities to enhance weather forecasting, ensure the safety of flood control facilities such as dikes, reservoirs and dams, and intensify flood control efforts in cities.

Heavy rains began on June 9 have battered at least 10 southern provinces, swelling rivers and causing landslides that forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

The National Meteorological Center on Saturday kept its rainstorm alert at "orange," the second-highest level, due to the persistent downpour.

According to the observatory, heavy rains will continue to lash parts of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Anhui, Yunnan and Hainan provinces from Sunday to Monday.

However, while the country strengthens efforts to combat the deadly floods, persistent drought still plagues regions in Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu provinces and some northern provinces.

The drought beginning from spring, the worst in 50 years in some regions, still affects 72.19 million mu (4.81 million hectares) of farmland nationwide. The extreme drought left 630,000 people short of drinking water in the five provinces in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River, Chen said.

Source: Xinhua
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