Tue, Mar 05, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Officials praying for rain as drought parches fields

DPA , TAIPEI

A Miaoli County judge held a ceremony to pray for rain yesterday as drought is threatening crops and livelihood in northwest Taiwan.

Fu Hsueh-peng (傅學鵬), magistrate of Miaoli County, led county government officials to Yu Ching Gong -- a Taoist temple -- to pray for rain.

They offered fruit and cookies to the Jade Emperor and Water God as Taoist priests chanted prayers, beating drums and gongs.

To help make the prayers work, the county's officials are eating vegetarian food for ten days.

Fu is the second local official to hold a rain ceremony following Hsinchu Mayor Lin Cheng-tze (林政則), who attended a rain ceremony at a Taoist temple last Thursday.

A drizzle fell in the Hsinchu area on Friday.

The month-long drought in the northwest has affected people's livelihoods, rice-planting and the Hsinchu Science-Based Industrial Park.

The Department of Agriculture has ordered 14,000 hectares of rice fields to lie fallow so as to supply the park with sufficient water to continue its operations.

Authorities have also rationed drinking water for for northwest Taiwan cities and are pumping water from reservoirs for the park.

The park is the base of production for the nation's information industry. Water is vital to the park because microchips must be produced under strict levels of cleanliness and at stable temperatures and humidity.

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