About 7 million people in rural areas, mostly in the northern
parts of the country, are suffering from water shortages because of
widespread drought. More than 5.4 million head of livestock and
13.8 million hectares of farmland have been affected, according to
the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
The central government has earmarked 100 million yuan (US$12.3
million) to help alleviate the problems caused by the drought.
But relief might be on its way with rainfall forecast for
parts of northwest and north China in 10 days, said Li Zhangjun of
the China Meteorological Administration.
He hoped the rain would help alleviate the drought, which has
affected areas since the start of spring, stretching from the
southern parts of north China to provinces between the Yellow and
the Huaihe rivers.
The drought-affected regions include the provinces of
Yunnan, as well as the
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Over the past month there's been just 22.5 millimeters of rain
throughout China, which is 20 percent less than average.
In Hebei, for example, recent rain only averaged 20.2
millimeters, down 60 percent on figures from a normal year. The
figure was the lowest ever recorded for that period since 1951.
(China Daily April 5, 2006)