Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Wednesday called for efforts to develop irrigation facilities and water conservancy projects to minimize losses in drought-hit northeast China.
Severe drought has plagued north China since June, especially in the northeast Liaoning and Jilin provinces. More than 1.7 million people and 760,000 head of livestock are still facing drinking water shortages and 183 reservoirs have dried up so far in the drought-stricken region.
Hui urged local farmers to make up for the losses in the farming sector by working as migrant workers in the urban areas and developing the breeding industry.
He also urged local governments to intensify efforts in fighting the drought, including increasing spending on relief and water conservancy projects, providing adequate technologies and assisting farmers in difficulty.
Jilin and Liaoning are both major grain and animal husbandry production bases of China.
The drought, the worst in Liaoning since records began in 1951, has affected 2.15 million hectares of farmland, 68 percent of the province's total.
The severe drought may be alleviated slightly by rainfall in early July, after record-low rainfall during June.
Forecasts show there will be 30 to 40 millimeters of rainfall between July 4 and 8 in northeast China.
The temperature in Jilin and Heilongjiang also hit record highs while that in Liaoning was the second highest on record.
The country's average temperature reached 20.5 degrees Celsius in June, one degree above average and also the second highest since 1951.
(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2007)