Thu, February 12, 2009
China > Mainland > Severe drought hits N China

Meteorologist: Drought could worsen north China's spring sandstorms

2009-02-11 15:06:31 GMT2009-02-11 23:06:31 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Farmers fix water pump in Fuchun Township in Heze City, east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 10, 2009. Thirty floodgates are opened in Shandong Province to draw water from the Yellow River to irrigate the wheat fields in fighting against the drought and reducing damages. (Xinhua/Zhang Xiaoli)

Farmers irrigate wheat land in Caoxian County in Heze City, east China's Shandong Province, Feb. 10, 2009. Thirty floodgates are opened in Shandong Province to draw water from the Yellow River to irrigate the wheat fields in fighting against the drought and reducing damages. (Xinhua/Zhang Xiaoli)

BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- If the severe drought gripping northern China spreads and lingers, it could damage forests and thus make spring sandstorms worse, an official with China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) said Wednesday.

Last year, the northern region had 12 sandstorms.

Luo Bin, an official in charge of sandstorm prevention, said that so far, forests in source regions for sandstorms were generally in good condition. However, he said, it was hard to tell whether they would be affected by the worst dry spell in 50 years, since the drought's development was difficult to predict.

He said the drought had affected some 6.3 million hectares of forest to the north of Beijing and Tianjin and if it lingered, parts of these forests would be damaged. The SFA would launch emergency measures if needed.

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