1.2m people parched in Hunan

Updated: 2007-08-01 09:12

Sustained drought over the past four weeks has caused a water crisis for 1.2 million people in central China's Hunan Province while also parching two provinces in China's east, authorities said yesterday.

Drought is plaguing 120,000 square kilometers in the province, more than half of its total area, said sources with the provincial flood control and drought relief office.

The dry weather has caused a water shortage for more than 1.2 million people and 700,000 head of cattle in 14,000 villages, they said.

In Guangrong village, Xinning County, the 600 residents have to trek six kilometers to fetch water by horseback from a neighboring village.

Hunan Province has received about 544 millimeters of rainfall in the past two months, 25 percent less than the average for the rainy season, the provincial flood control and drought relief office said.

Since July 1, the average rainfall has measured only 20 to 50 percent of the average volume.

Lack of rain has left most of the province's 2.04 million water storage facilities half empty, and 859 reservoirs have dried up.

The crisis has cut the province's daily power generating capacity by 20 million kilowatt-hours. The provincial capital, Changsha, has suspended power generation at all hydropower stations to save water for drought relief.

The province has also called up 46,000 cadres and 2.39 million laborers to join the drought relief campaign.

The provincial meteorological bureau has forecast temperatures will hover around 37 to 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the province in August.

High temperatures in neighboring Fujian Province have also caused a drought, affecting the drinking water supplies to 130,000 people and 32,500 livestock.

The high temperature in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, exceeded 35 degrees Celsius for the 31st consecutive day yesterday, the longest hot spell since the city began recording meteorological data in 1880.

Thirty-four cities in the province reported temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius, with Xiamen and Shanyou breaking heat records in July.

A month-long drought is also crippling Jiangxi Province in China's east, where 820,000 people and 460,000 head of livestock have been suffering water shortages.

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours