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Drought hits 7.6m people across China
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-12 05:58

While seasonal downpours have wreaked havoc across East China, other areas are still suffering drought, with about 7.6 million people in rural areas and 6.3 million livestock facing drinking water shortages.

Two boys play in a pond of shallow water around a bridge support in Zhijiang Dong Ethnic Autonomous County in Central China’s Hunan Province on Wednesday. Persistent drought has left 1.2 million people in Hunan facing drinking water shortages. [Xinhua]

To date, more than 5 million hectares of crops have been affected, with nearly 40 per cent of those facing the prospect of failure, according to a source with the Beijing-based State Flood-Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

"There has not been enough rain in Shanxi Province or the Inner Mongolian and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions across North and Northwest China since late last month, while dry spells have also hit mountainous regions in Central China's Hunan and Southwest China's Guizhou Province as well as Chongqing Municipality," the source said.

In Alxa League in Inner Mongolian, camels' humps have shrunk as drought scorches the grasslands where many goats have already died of thirst.

"Bodies of dead goats can be seen along the roads," Lian Jun, a reporter working for China National Radio in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said in a report.

In Datong, Shuozhou, Xinzhou and Yuncheng in Shanxi, rain has been 70 per cent less than normal while more than 1.4 million hectares of farmland, 40 per cent of the province's total, are threatened by drought.

In Central China's Hunan, about 80,000 storage ponds have dried up, as have more than 1,170 rivulets in mountainous areas, due to the lack of rainfall since June.

In Xiushan, a county in southern Chongqing, residents in some villages have to travel 7 kilometres to fetch water away amid the drought.

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