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Another 80 Mln Yuan Allocated for Drought Relief
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The Chinese government on Thursday pledged another 80 million yuan (US$10.4 million) to help fight a widespread and prolonged drought that has left nearly 9 million people short of drinking water.

The central government has launched an emergency mechanism on drought relief to offer timely financial support to affected areas, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The drought triggered by continuous high temperatures and lack of rain in most parts of northern China since early March also affected 14.93 million hectares of arable land, 25 percent up from the annual average, and 7.52 million head of livestock.

Gansu and Qinghai provinces and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region were among the most severely hit areas.

"The government is closely watching the progress of the drought," said the ministry.

A total of 303 million yuan has been allocated this year from the central government to local governments for drought alleviation.

The Ministry of Agriculture earlier warned the drought could damage the year's summer crop output.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2007)

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