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China to Spend 7.89 Bln Yuan on Poverty Reduction in 2008

China plans to put 7.89 billion yuan (US$1.11 billion) into poverty reduction this year, notably in snow-stricken areas, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Thursday.

The money will also be used to relieve poverty among ethnic minority groups and help restore daily life and production in areas affected by this winter's severe weather, the MOF said in a joint statement issued by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development and the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.

Unusually severe weather affected southern China between mid-January and early February; meanwhile, most parts of the northeast and northwest are gravely short of rainfall, which has put spring ploughing at risk.

To support those areas, the MOF extended 75.6 billion yuan to finance grain production and farming equipment purchases at the end of last month.

Also, the MOF, together with the Ministry of Water Resources, has allocated some 200 million yuan for emergency drought relief.

(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2008)

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