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Premier Visits Drought-Hit Southwest China Ahead of Spring Festival

NANNING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited drought-plagued southwest China regions ahead of the Spring Festival, comforting affected local people and directing relief work against the disaster.

During a trip to Donglan County and Bama Yao Autonomous County in Hechi City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Friday and Saturday, Wen urged local authorities to beef up anti-drought efforts to ensure drinking water for people and livestock and meet the water demand in spring farming.

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2010-2-14 17:40

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (Front) opens the tap for people to fetch water at Nongmo Village of Dongshan Township in Bama Yao Autonomous County, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Feb. 13, 2010. Premier Wen made an inspection tour in Guangxi on Feb. 12-13. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Hechi, a poverty-stricken region, hasn't seen rains since last August, leaving rivers drying up and local people with severe drinking water shortages.

"The Party and the government will help you overcome the drought disaster and address the difficulties, and ensure you have a happy Spring Festival," said Wen, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, to villagers. The Spring Festival, or Chinese lunar new year, falls on Sunday this year.

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2010-2-14 17:40

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (3rd L) visits 95-year-old Sun Jifan (1st L) at Tiandong Village of Donglan Township in Donglan County, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Feb. 13, 2010. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Wen said the affected areas should focus their work on drought relief. "We must first guarantee enough drinking water for local people and livestock, and at the same time make preparations for the spring farming." To fundamentally address the water shortage issues, overall plans should be made to build more water conservancy projects, so that water could be better reserved for dry times, Wen said, promising more fiscal support for the water projects.

Source: Xinhua