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42.27 Mln People Affected by Floods, Drought
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About 42.27 million Chinese have been affected by floods and drought so far this year, the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on Monday.

Statistics showed that by July 2, floods have affected the livelihood of 34.88 million people and 1.826 million hectares of crops in 18 provincial regions, mainly in southern China. The floods killed 233 people and destroyed 118,500 houses.

In the meantime, in northern China drought has caused drinking water shortage for 7.39 million people and 5.79 million head of livestock, and affected 10.3 million hectares of arable land, including 9.6 million hectares of crops.

Zhang Zhitong, deputy chief of the office, said as China has entered a flood season, heavy floods may occur in major rivers and the drought-hit north may also suffer sudden flooding due to heavy rains. Typhoons may hit coastal areas in southeast China more frequently. While possible northward movement of the subtropical belt may cause drought in South China and the regions to the south of the Yangtze River, he said.

Recent rainfalls have already brought the water level of certain branches of the Pearl River, the Yangtze, the Minjiang River (in east China's Fujian Province) and the Nenjiang River (in north China's Heilongjiang Province) above their alert levels, said Zhang, adding that more rainfalls in the future may lead to heavy floods in these big rivers.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2007)

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