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Worst Drought in 65 Years Strikes Southeast China

Nearly 1.8 million people in southeast China's Fujian Province are short of drinking water as the region suffers from its most serious drought since 1938. 

 "The drought is expected to ease as Typhoon Morakot moves to the southeastern part of the province from the sea on Monday,'' said Liu Aimin, deputy director of the Fujian Meteorological Observatory.


"Central and southeastern parts of the province are forecast to receive about 100 millimeters of long-awaited rain from typhoon Morakot, which will alleviate the heat and drought,'' said Liu.


However, the drought in northern and northwestern Fujian shows no signs of easing as the typhoon is expected to dissipate quickly once it hits land, having little impact on the province's interior.


A total of 810,000 hectares of farmland are currently in drought.


Meanwhile, Shanghai can expect some relief from its summer heatwave in the next two days.


The city has experienced 16 extremely hot days with the temperature surpassing 35C.


According to Xu Jialiang, a senior engineer with the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, the city has not had such a hot spell in half a century.


Temperatures could drop with the possible arrival of showers tomorrow, but the effects are likely to be limited, he added.


The number of outpatients in Shanghai's major hospitals has risen by a fifth compared with last year, and most suffering from heat stroke.


As residents drink more water, take more showers and stay indoors with their air conditioning running, the consumption of water and electricity is increasing substantially.


Shanghai Water Company engineers point out the downtown area is now using around six million cubic meters of water a day.


But they said the system is still capable of providing 20 per cent more water if the need arises.


The huge increase in electricity consumption, however, is posing a major challenge to the city's power network.


Consumption has peaked at 13.44 million kilowatts (kw), one million kw higher than its designed generating capacity.


At present, more than 1,000 local companies face power restrictions and some 300 companies have had to re-arrange work schedules to avoid the peak electricity consumption period.


The municipality also announced all landscape lighting around the city will be temporarily suspended.


Hot weather has forced local governments to take all sorts of measures.


For example, in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, 16 air raid shelters are being opened from 9 am to 11 pm every day for local residents to escape the heat.


"It is much cooler here than in our home,'' media reports quoted a man surnamed Zhang as saying.


(China Daily August 5, 2003)

Drought Leaves Millions Hot and Dry
More Rain in North; Heatwave Continues in South
Cloud Seeding Works in Drought-hit Regions
Drought Causes Serious Water Shortage in Central China
Severe Droughts Hit Southern China
Heatwave Hits Shanghai
Northwest China Suffers Heatwave, Gales
NE China City Hit by Heatwave
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