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Thousands Without Drinking Water as Severe Droughts Hits E. China
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At least 53,000 people in east China's Anhui Province are suffering drinking water shortages because of a severe drought over the last two months.


Rainfall was 60 percent less than the average for the past two months, affecting drinking water supplies in three counties of Anqing city and almost 470,000 hectares of farmland across the province.


The provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said on Wednesday that the total rainfall in north Anhui was less than 20 millimeters in the past 60 days, only 15 percent of the average.


The precipitation in the province's south was also about half compared with the same period in the past few years.


The city of Anqing saw hardly any rainfall since September with a large number of ponds drying up and rivers running dry.


The local government is using tractors and fire engines to carry water into affected areas.


The drought had affected at least 467,000 hectares of farmland, the headquarters said, of which more than 60,000 hectares was barren.


The provincial government has, so far, allocated 146 million yuan (US$18.3 million) to drought relief.


But the local meteorological department has forecast the drought could worsen with no sign of heavy rainfall in the near future.


(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)

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