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Chinese premier boosts drought relief

Chinese premier boosts drought relief
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to journalist on a devastated area in Natori, Miyagi-prefecture, Japan, on May 21, 2011. UPI/Keizo Mori | License Photo

WUHAN, China, June 4 (UPI) -- Premier Wen Jiabao toured drought-stricken central China Saturday and promoted relief efforts to help farmers.

"The drought relief work is important for the country to maintain stable and rapid economic growth and manage inflation expectations," he said in Wuhan, Xinhua reported.

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Wen recommended the Yangtze River's Three Gorges Dam and other hydroelectric projects adjust their water levels to help cope with the drought and said Beijing has boosted relief funding and subsidies to help farmers buy products such as fish fry, seeds and fertilizer to increase output.

"Major leaders of local governments should go to the front line to combat the drought, and ensure that incomes of farmers as well as the lives of the needy would not be greatly affected," he said.

Wen is visiting the provinces of Hubei, Jiangxi and Hunan in the Yangtze Basin, where rainfall has been only half normal levels.

Desperately needed rain fell on the region Saturday.

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