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Drought leaves 7.5 mln Chinese short of drinking water
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08:30, August 02, 2007

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Severe drought in China has left 7.53 million people short of drinking water, according to the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The office announced on Wednesday that the drought had affected 164 million mu (10.9 million hectares) of arable land, 30 million mu more than the same time last year and left 5.08 million head of livestock short of drinking water.

The hardest-hit regions were the provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China and the provinces of Jiangxi and Hunan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south.

It added that more than one third of the arable land in Jiangxi, Heilongjiang and Hunan was affected by the drought.

In Jiangxi, where more than one million people face drinking water shortages, 47 counties have carried out a total of 335 artificial rainfall operations, bringing almost 500 million cubic meters of rainwater.

Drought has also caused drinking water shortages for 380,000 people in southern Guangdong Province.

The average precipitation in July was 65.8 millimeters, down 70 percent over the same period in normal years, according to Guangdong flood control and drought relief office.

By Tuesday, the water storage in 30 large reservoirs in the province was 12.1 billion cubic meters, a reduction of 5.2 billion cubic meters from last year, the Guangdong office said.

The province has allocated 63.45 million yuan and mobilized 840,000 people to combat the drought.

In northeastern Heilongjiang province, a major grain base of China, the local meteorological station warned parts of the province may experience a once-in-50-year drought as no significant rainfall is forecast in the next week.

About four million hectares of croplands have been affected.

The grain output of Hegang city could fall by 282,000 tons, agricultural experts say.

Meanwhile, Chinese provinces, such as Hubei, Yunnan, Guizhou and Shaanxi, have suffered severe flooding. Floods, landslides and mudflows triggered by torrential rains have killed more than 700 people nationwide.

Source: Xinhua

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