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Drought Leaves 300,000 People Short of Drinking Water in Shaanxi
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Drought has left 300,000 people short of drinking water and affected thousands of hectares of cropland in northwest China's Shaanxi Province in the past two months, say local authorities.

The average rainfall in January in central Shaanxi was 50 to 90 percent below the average and temperatures were one to two degrees centigrade higher, according to the Shaanxi Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Water shortages had affected more than 300,000 rural residents and 60,000 livestock in Tongchuan, Xianyang and Weinan, three cities in central Shaanxi.

Local water resources authorities had organized 1,840 vehicles to carry drinking water for those severely affected.

Meanwhile, water conservation facilities were also fully commissioned to irrigate crops in the drought-hit areas.

The drought would worsen as temperatures in February were expected to be higher than the same period in previous years and little rainfall was forecast, local meteorologists said.

Most parts in north China have been experiencing a warm winter with little precipitation of snow and rain.

The latest report from China's Central Weather Bureau indicated that drought had extended to more areas in northeast, east, northwest and southwest China in the past month.

In east China's Shandong Province, where the average rainfall was only 0.7 millimeters in January, down 91 percent from the average in previous years, drought has affected half a million hectares of cropland.

(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2007)

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