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Severe water shortage hits pasture area in north China's Inner Mongolia

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16:35, August 11, 2011

HOHHOT, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- More than 370,000 people and 580,000 livestock living in pasture areas in the western part of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are having difficulties securing drinking water due to a severe drought.

The regional flood control and drought relief headquarters said the water shortage has plagued seven leagues (cities) in the area, most of which have received less than 5 mm of rainfall since July.

Most of the water shortages were reported in the Ulanqab and Bayan Nur leagues.

On the Ulate Grasslands in Bayan Nur, 4.39 million hectares of grassland have dried up, a fact which has been blamed for the deaths of 14,000 livestock.

Eleven of Bayan Nur's 31 reservoirs are completely dried up, while the others are currently holding just 6.8 percent of their total water storage capacity.

The drought relief headquarters is giving priority to ensuring drinking water supplies for local residents and maintaining foraging areas for livestock.

In the meantime, it has asked local authorities to purchase livestock feed from other regions in order to make up for deficient supplies caused by the drought.

The regional meteorological department predicted that high temperatures of over 35 degrees Celsius are likely to continue for another week.

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