80m yuan to aid provinces in flood
Firefighters work to expand a flood discharge outlet in Jiexiu, Shanxi province, on Sunday, after the city's section of the Fenhe River burst its banks, affecting residential areas and farmland. A total of 1.75 million residents in the province have been affected by flooding and other rain-related disasters. [Photo/China Daily]
The finance and emergency management ministries on Monday earmarked 80 million yuan ($12.4 million) to aid disaster relief in flood-ravaged parts of Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces.
China's top disaster relief authorities on Sunday activated the lowest level of emergency response after persistent rains pounded large parts of Shanxi, a coal producer and a major grain growing area, over the National Day holiday.
The damage in Shaanxi was mostly confined to Weinan, a city of 5 million people on the border with Shanxi.
Authorities in Shanxi said 1.75 million residents have been affected by flooding and other rain-induced disasters and 121,000 people have been evacuated.
The rain has also caused the collapse of about 17,000 homes and varying degrees of damage to 190,000 hectares of autumn grain crops.
The province's top officials decided at a meeting on Saturday to allocate 50 million yuan for relief purposes.
It is also ramping up efforts to reduce crop damage, strengthen safety nets for the affected and prevent flood-related epidemics.
Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday that farmers in Shanxi will face "grim difficulties" to harvest the autumn crops and plant wheat for winter because two rounds of rainfall are forecast for the next 10 days.
The province's agriculture and rural affairs bureau had sent a panel of experts to guide the harvest effort and arranged for machinery to drain waterlogged farmland and salvage the remaining crops, Xinhua reported.
"The rain has caused too much water in the soil," Gu Yong, director of the bureau's farming management division, told Xinhua. "Drainage and distribution of water is the main work at present, and the purpose is to save the crops."
The province's civil affairs department said it had made social aid available to out-of-towners stranded by the flooding. It also fast-tracked the application process to ensure timely assistance.
The provincial government has also sent more than 50 experts in fields including infectious diseases and drinking water safety to aid epidemic-prevention efforts.
Charitable donations have also poured in. Shanxi Xinghuacun Fenjiu Group, a distillery that produces baijiu, a Chinese liquor, donated 30 million yuan to the province's Red Cross to help with disaster relief efforts and pledged to buy sorghum from affected farmers.
Donors also include some of the country's technology giants. Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Byte Dance and Pinduoduo each donated 50 million yuan to aid relief and reconstruction efforts.