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38b Yuan Earmarked to Harness Huaihe River

The Chinese government will invest some 38 billion yuan (US$4.6 billion) in flood control projects along the Huaihe River in the coming five years to better contain the flood-prone river.

Half of the investment will be spent in Anhui Province alone, where most of the river runs, local official sources said.

The construction of dozens of water control projects, which were once deserted in the 1950s because of financial difficulty, will also be resumed in provinces along the river.

The new investment plan includes the construction of waterlogging prevention projects, the relocation of people living in water diversion areas and the drainage of the mainstream and tributaries.

Wang Shucheng, minister of water resources, said that the country will transfer its flood control focus to the Huaihe River as the embankment construction along the Yangtze and Yellow rivers has met the designed requirements this year.

Official figures show the heavy floods along the Huaihe River this summer claimed at least 16 lives and caused 18.17 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion) of direct economic losses in Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan provinces.

The Huaihe River is notorious for its frequent floods with 300 disastrous floods recorded over the past five centuries, endangering the lives of local people in the river valley. The area now produces 18 percent of the country's food grain and 15 percent of coal.

The 1,000-km Huaihe River flows through four central and eastern Chinese provinces, namely Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu, and is located exactly between the country's other two major rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers.

(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2003)

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