KUNMING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for intensified and consistent efforts to relieve drought in the country and help the affected people overcome the difficulty.
During a three-day trip to China's drought-plagued southwestern Yunnan Province that ended on Sunday, Wen visited Qujing, one of the regions that suffered the most from the recent severe drought, to comfort the affected locals and direct relief work.
Wen said priority should be given to the guarantee of drinking water supply for local people, and the preparations for the spring farming.
The severe drought has affected 51 million Chinese and left more than 16 million people and 11 million livestock with drinking water shortages, China's State Commission of Disaster Relief said Friday.
Since autumn last year, southwest China, including Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality, has received only half its annual average rainfall and water stores are depleted.