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Hubei Endures Dual Torments by Floods And Droughts
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As weeklong heavy rains inundated 54 cities and counties in central China's Hubei Province, people in province's west are suffering a shortage of drinking water.

Much of Hubei province was hit by constant downpours from July 31 to August 7, said the provincial flood control and drought relief department.

Altogether 54 cities and counties were hit by rain with precipitation in 14 places surpassing 100 millimeters.

More than 197,000 people were affected by the down pours which triggered mountain torrents and floods that killed two people.

Meanwhile six cities and prefectures in western Hubei and 2.37 million mu (about 158,000 hectares) of farmland are running out of water for irrigation.

The severe drought has drained 72 reservoirs and a drinking water shortage has affected 185,000 people and 173,000 livestock.

The prefecture of Enshi is currently enduring the most serious drought in local history, said the department.

Since the spring, total precipitation in the prefecture has been 230 millimeters, about 40 to 60 percent less than average for the same period over the last number of years.

(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2006)

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