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Rainfall Expected in Drought-stricken NE China
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Rain is forecast for northeast China's Liaoning Province over the next couple of days bringing at least some relief to its worst drought in 56 years.

Moderate to heavy rains are expected in southern and southeastern Liaoning, while other parts of the province can expect showers or even thundershowers, said Chen Yanqiu, deputy director of the Liaoning Provincial Meteorological Station.

Chen said despite the forecast for widespread precipitation it will only bring slight relief to the province's drought.

A spokesman with the Liaoning Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said the expected rain will not do much to fill the dried-up rivers and reservoirs. Some 160 of the province's 936 reservoirs have dried up.

The drought, the worst to hit Liaoning since records began in 1951, has affected more than 2 million hectares of farmland, or 65.7 percent of the province's total, statistics with the headquarters show.

Nearly 1.6 million people and 750,000 head of livestock in 14 cities, 89 counties and 914 townships are suffering water shortages.

This month the province has had only 10 percent of its normal rain while temperatures are 2.5 degrees higher than normal, meteorologists say.

The provincial government has spent nearly 300 million yuan (US$37.5 million) for disaster relief.

Meanwhile in neighboring Jilin Province, people are still battling a drought, and rainfall there is not expected until Saturday.

Jilin has managed to provide drinking water to about 150,000 thirsty people in rural areas, said Xie Wanku, deputy head of the Jilin Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Despite the effort, 288,700 people in the countryside and 181,300 head of livestock are still short of drinking water, Xie said.

More than two thirds of the province's farmland, about 2.67 million hectares, has been affected by the drought. Nineteen of the province's reservoirs have dried up.

The province has spent 326 million yuan (US$40.75 million) for disaster relief and dispatched more than 2 million people to combat the drought.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)

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