Severe drought worsens in China

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A severe drought has affected 69.6 million mu (about 4.64 million hectares) of arable land and left 12.7 million people and 8.4 million livestock short of drinking water, said China's drought relief authorities Saturday.


The figures nearly doubled the average level for corresponding periods over the past years, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.


The drought had caused huge losses and serious drinking water shortages in the affected areas, said Liu Ning, vice minister of water resources.


Local governments have put 750 million yuan (110 million U.S. dollars) and mobilized nearly 9 million people to cope with the draught, which temporarily helped 7.4 million people and 3.6 million livestock out of drinking water shortages, Liu said.


He called for prompt allocation of more relief funds from the central government and more efforts to ensure drinking water safety and spring irrigation.


The dry spell started last autumn and has hit southwest, south and part of north China. The seriousness, duration, areas affected and losses are rarely seen in history, said the Ministry of Civil Affairs Friday.


Severe drought would continue to ravage the already hard-stricken southwest China as no major rainfalls are expected in the next three days, the China Meteorological Administration warned Saturday.



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