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Thanks to the South-to-North Water Diversion plan, people in the drought-prone north may eventually tap into the water from the Yangtze River. But this also means thousands of people have to be relocated in Central China's Hubei Province.
The Danjiangkou reservoir will be expanded to serve as a source for the water diversion project. But to make way, tens of thousands of residents in central Hubei Province are being relocated to 20 counties throughout the province.
CCTV reporter Shen Le said, "The last time China moved so many people was for the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project, on the Yangtze River in the late 1990's. Back then 1.4 million people were relocated as their villages would be submerged beneath a reservoir hundreds of kilometers long. The project was completed in 2006.
But this time, the biggest challenge is time. 60 thousand people in just 50 days."
It is six-o'clock in the morning at the Liaowa village in Yun County. The caravan carrying the first batch of 300 residents are ready to leave the mountainous areas. But some of their relatives need to stay longer to look after the crops.
The passengers are heading to their new hometown 300 kilometers away.
A relocated villager said, "We all are willing to move. I want to see the outside world, a bigger world."
The journey is long and tedious. Many fall asleep on the bus.
But the loud noise of firecrackers wakes them, as government officials welcome their arrival at the newly constructed relocation compound in Touhao village in Huchang township.
To make it easier for the newcomers to settle in, the local government assigned an official to each and every relocated family. The official's responsibility ranges from answering questions to replacing broken light bulbs.