Drought hits 1.2 million in central China

Updated: 2007-07-31 20:06

BEIJING - More than 1.2 million people in the central Chinese province of Hunan are facing a "water crisis" after four weeks of drought and high temperatures, which are also straining power generating capacity, state media said on Tuesday.

Hunan has received 25 percent less rain than normal and about half of its 2 million water storage facilities are half-empty, while 859 reservoirs have dried up, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"The provincial capital Changsha has suspended power generation at all local hydropower stations to save water for drought relief," it added.

Changsha and three other cities in the province have started to seed clouds to try and force artificial rain, the report said.

The provincial meteorological bureau expects the heat to get worse before there is any substantial rain, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104F) for most of August, it added.

Neighbouring Jiangxi province is also suffering from drought, even as other parts of China have been deluged with rain and floods that have killed around 700 people so far this year.

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