East China wheat basket braces for worst drought in 200 years

16:46, February 08, 2011      

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The dried cornfield is seen in the mountainous area of Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Jan. 18, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)



East China's Shandong Province, one of the country's major grain producers, is bracing for its worst drought in 200 years.

Liu Wei, deputy Party chief of Shandong, Monday told a meeting on drought relief mobilization that Party and local government agriculture officials of all levels should go to farms to ensure drought alleviation measures were being implemented.

"Provincial authorities should hold officials accountable if drought relief work is not well done," said Liu, deputy secretary of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Data from the provincial meteorological bureau showed the drought would be Shandong's worst in 200 years if there were no substantial precipitation by the end of this month.

The province has received only 12 millimeters of rain since September last year.

The central government Friday initiated a grade II emergency response in eight drought-ravaged provinces, including Shandong, under which the provinces began 24-hour weather monitoring and daily damage reports, and sent experts and relief materials to wheat growing areas.

The four-month drought had affected 35.1 percent of wheat crops -- 96.11 million mu (6.4 million hectares) -- accounting for 21.7 percent of total farmland in the provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture announced Monday.

The wheat growing area in the eight provinces accounted for more than 80 percent of the country's total, said a statement from the ministry's website on Friday.

Yin Changwen, spokesman of the Shandong provincial headquarters of flood-control and drought-relief, said Friday that water-efficient irrigation facilities under construction in Shandong were expected to supply 191 million cubic meters of water to farms this spring.

Source: Xinhua
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