Residents' lives along Yellow River enriched

By ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan(China Daily)Updated: 2022-03-04

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Kang Fengchun tends strawberries at a greenhouse in Dongkou, Heze, Shandong province, Jan 4, 2022. [Photo by FANG ZHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Having walked 12,000 kilometers doing field research along the Yellow River, Wang Shuli, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said great efforts are being made to ensure that people relocated from the river's flood plain live a good life.

The 70-year-old from Shandong province has focused on the Yellow River Basin's protection and development for nine years, and has submitted 17 proposals on protecting and developing the basin.

Years ago, Wang submitted a proposal about relocating people living on the flood plain to safer places, and related authorities conducted detailed research on his proposal.

"I'm so glad to see people who once lived in the flood plain have all moved to safe and government-subsidized houses," Wang said.

People living on the plain between the Yellow River and its dikes used to be at great risk of flooding, which lowered crop yields and necessitated expensive repairs. Sometimes, the damage caused by flooding could push them back into poverty.

To protect residents from flooding and lift them out of poverty, governments in Shandong launched a relocation project in 2017.

All of the 600,000 people living on 1,702 square kilometers of flood plains in the province had been relocated to new houses in safer locations by the end of 2020.

President Xi Jinping, when visiting a residential community of relocated residents in the province in October, said that the relocation of residents from the flood plain of the Yellow River was an extraordinary feat.

Xi said he was very pleased to learn that the relocated residents were living and working in contentment, and making progress in rural vitalization.

In addition to building new houses, local governments have also built workshops, kindergartens, community service centers and schools in the new communities.

"Developing agricultural projects such as greenhouses that grow tomatoes and strawberries is a very good way to enrich relocated farmers, especially when the projects can provide jobs for seniors," Wang said.

Dongkou, a town in the city of Heze, is home to 3,718 people relocated from the flood plain. Kang Fengchun is one of the farmers who benefits from working at a greenhouse growing strawberries.

After working for four hours in the morning at the greenhouse, she returned home to cook food for her parents on Thursday before returning to work for another four hours in the afternoon.

"The greenhouse is less than 1 kilometer from my home," she said. "I am able to earn more than 70 yuan ($11) a day while taking care of my parents."

"The jobs are easy, like picking the strawberries and fertilizing."

To enrich relocated residents, Shandong will put more effort into building infrastructure including transportation facilities and upgrading public service facilities, and will develop agricultural sectors such as rural tourism, according to an outline for the Yellow River Basin's protection and development through 2030 released by the Shandong provincial government last month.