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Millions Affected by Drought, 59 Killed by Floods
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Million of Chinese have been affected by drought in north China this year and 59 people have been killed by floods in the southern regions.

The lasting drought in North China has resulted in a shortage of drinking water for 9.49 million people, said E Jingping, secretary general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and also vice minister of water resources.

The drought has affected 12.1 million hectares of farmland mainly in the northern and northeastern areas.

The drinking water shortage has also affected 8.7 million livestock, the official said.

In late April when the drought was most serious, it threatened supplies of drinking water to more than 14 million Chinese and affected 16.3 million hectares of farmland. It eased in the middle of May after rain fell across China, except in the northern and northeastern areas.

Meanwhile, the nation has been stricken by floods mainly in southern parts that have claimed 59 lives and affected 19 million people so far this year, E Jingping said.

Another 11 people remained missing and 71,000 houses have been destroyed in the floods, while direct economic losses are reported to be more than 13.097 billion yuan (about US$1.64 billion). One million hectares of farmland have been affected.

The worst-hit provinces are Guangdong in south China, Fujian and Jiangxi in east China, and Hunan and Hubei in central China, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2006)

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