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Snow cooling drought worries in some areas

02-14-2011 11:40 BJT

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Recent snowfalls in parts of the country have relieved severe droughts in some of China's major wheat-growing areas, but the situation is still worsening in others, experts and officials have said.

(Photo: China Daily)

"The droughts in most parts of Central and East China have been relieved to some extent and a good harvest is still promising," Lu Bu, an agricultural resources researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told China Daily on Sunday.

But Shandong, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces are still experiencing severe droughts, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC).

Since late Saturday, fresh dumps of snow fell on Beijing and in Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces. Snow is also expected in Gansu, Shaanxi, Shandong, Henan and Jiangsu provinces.

"Although the latest snow has not been heavy, the recent snowfalls will cumulatively play an active role in mitigating the droughts," Lu said.

But the country is still facing the grim task of fighting severe droughts in many areas that could worsen as the weather warms.

Winter wheat is the main worry because it needs large amounts of water when it is turning green, said Chen Lei, deputy director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. Chen was speaking during a national meeting at the weekend.

As of 3 pm on Thursday, the drought had affected more than 6.75 million hectares of crops, including about 1 million hectares that were described as severely affected. In addition, more than 2.8 million people and nearly 2.6 million farm animals were short of drinking water, according to the latest statistics from the headquarters.

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