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Firefighters help students get water from a truck on a school playground in Xihe township, Suizhou city, Central China's Hubei province, May 26, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING - China's top drought relief authority said Friday the management of the Three Gorges Dam will be improved to better balance its roles in flood prevention, drought alleviation, power generation and shipping.
The statement from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters came as severe drought continues to plague the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze, the country's largest river.
It also said the central government will allocate funds to support anti-drought efforts in worst-hit regions and boost drought-relief supplies.
As of Thursday, the drought has affected 92.51 million mu (6.17 million hectares) of farmland in provinces such as Hubei, Hunan and Gansu, with as least 5.07 million people suffering from drinking water shortages, mainly in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Gansu provinces, according to the office.
The Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric complex, has been releasing more-than-usual flows downstream in an effort to raise water levels brought so low by lack of rain.
The dam has unleashed more than 2.76 billion cubic meters of water since May and helped raise the water levels downstream by up to 2.72 meters, the office said.