Dry weather expected to linger in China's drought-plagued region

09:19, May 29, 2011      

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China's worst drought in 50 years, which has hit the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, is expected to continue as no rains are predicted in the area until the end of May.

Lack of rain will continue to bite the drought-plagued regions along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River till May 31, the China Meteorological Administration said Saturday.

The severe drought started in April and, as of Friday, has affected 34.83 million people in the five provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Hunan's Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture is suffering severely because of a drastic lack of rainfall and increased water use for relief work, the local drought relief authority said.

In the first five months of this year, precipitation was 57 percent less than that for the same period of last year and 55 percent less than previous years, according to the authority. The drought has has dried up sections of 125 rivers and 158 reservoirs in the region.

The drought has prompted the central government to roll out measures for relief work, including a call for continuous improvements to the water discharge plan for the Three Gorges Dam and an allocation of funds to alleviate the impact from the lingering dry weather.

Meanwhile, heavy rains will hit the southwestern and northeastern parts of the country in the days leading up to May 31, the administration forecasted on its website.

Moderate to heavy rains or showers will pound the southeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, western Yunnan Province, the northern and southwestern Sichuan basin, northern Chongqing, western Hubei and areas in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.

Source: Xinhua
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