Saturday, February 7, 2009

China orders $13-billion drought relief for wheat growers

Los Angeles Times: With the global economic crisis already producing unrest in rural areas, Chinese authorities have taken emergency action in wheat-growing regions that are suffering from their worst drought in 50 years. The three eastern provinces that account for more than half of the country's wheat production have seen winter rainfall levels as much as 80% lower than normal, the National Meteorological Center reported.

In a sign of how seriously the government is taking the drought, state-run media reported that the State Council, the highest-level of executive authority, discussed the crisis Thursday. The official New China News Agency reported that President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had personally ordered the emergency efforts to deal with the drought.

The state-run media reported today that the Finance Ministry had allocated nearly 87 billion yuan, or close to $13 billion, for drought relief, most of which would fund direct aid grants to farmers. The rest will go to help bail out grain producers….

The national emblem of the People's Republic of China

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