China steps up flood relief efforts, minimizing impact on agriculture
China is taking multi-pronged disaster relief measures to minimize the impact of flooding on agricultural production in affected areas and to accelerate the restoration of normal life and production.
Heavy floods triggered by typhoons have swept across large swathes of China this summer, resulting in significant damage to vital crops, including rice.
As this is a crucial period for autumn grain crop yield, efforts to save the rain-soaked fields and ensure a bumper harvest this year have been highlighted.
In northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, one of the country's major granary regions that has been affected by the extreme weather, vegetable farmer Li Minli followed expert guidance in draining accumulated water from a field and removing plastic mulch to increase evaporation from the soil.
Li's vegetable greenhouse has suffered severely from the prolonged rainfall. However, timely and targeted instructions from experts have made her feel reassured.
To guide farmers in affected areas to save their crops and reduce their losses scientifically, groups of sci-tech workers were dispatched by local governments and provincial science institutions to provide on-site support.
Local governments have also dispatched additional work forces, agricultural machinery and drainage equipment to aid water drainage efforts in crop-growing areas. They have also urged the intensified management of fields to ensure adequate grain output.
In Baimazhuang Village of Douzhuang Township, Zhuozhou City, one of the worst-affected areas in Hebei, an agricultural machine can be seen grinding wet straw so that it can be absorbed better when it is returned to the fields.
Since flooding receded, villagers have been making intense efforts to drain water and repair damaged fields, according to Yang Hong, Party secretary of Baimazhuang Village.
All 690 mu (46 hectares) of arable land in the village has been flooded, Yang said. However, thanks to government aid, 300 mu of farmland in the village now meets the conditions needed to resume cultivation, and replantation has already begun, Yang added.
In the face of challenging circumstances, Chinese authorities have made all-out efforts to ensure agricultural production. While ramping up flood monitoring and prevention, the country has also dispatched groups of working teams to major disaster-stricken provinces to provide instruction.
Chinese authorities pre-allocated another 1 billion yuan (about 139 million US dollars) on Saturday as part of the central government's support for disaster relief.
The central government has allocated more than 9.68 billion yuan in various flood prevention and relief funds for disaster-stricken areas since the beginning of this year's flood season.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also stressed the importance of efforts to initiate drainage measures for flooded vegetable fields promptly, and efforts to implement targeted measures that support autumn sowing.
The financial sector has also been supporting flood relief work. The National Administration of Financial Regulation (NAFR) said earlier that transportation, telecommunications, gas and power supply, water conservation, and waterlogging prevention projects will enjoy more loan support.
According to the NAFR, the total value of payments and prepayments made by insurance companies to China's 16 affected regions was 2.54 billion yuan as of August 15.