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Artificial Rainfall Alleviates Drought in NE China
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China's northeastern provinces of Jilin and Liaoning artificially induced rain on Thursday, offering temporary relief from a severe drought that has lasted almost a month.

Four planes and 78 rocket systems were used to seed clouds and produce 283 million tons of rain over eight hours across Liaoning. At least 14 areas received more than 20 mm of rain by noon, according to the provincial meteorological bureau.

As a result of the severe drought, there are cracks all over the fields in Liaoning Province.

The operation was started late on Wednesday, right after rain started to pelt the thirsty province.

Another large rainmaking operation is scheduled for Saturday, when a second precipitation is expected to arrive, said Chen Yanqiu, deputy head of the bureau.

Almost 1.6 million people and 750,000 head of livestock in 14 cities, 89 counties and 914 townships are suffering water shortages. About 2.05 million hectares, or 49 percent of the province's crops, were affected by drought, the worst in 56 years.

In neighboring Jilin, 140 million tons of rainfall was artificially induced on Thursday.

However, the effort failed in some of the worst-hit areas where the rain vaporized before it reached the ground, said Jin Dezhen, director in charge of the rainmaking program.

People in Jilin have been fighting the worst drought in history since early June.

Water supplies had returned to more than 150,000 rural residents and 210,000 head of livestock by Wednesday, leaving 470,000 people and 400,000 head of livestock short of drinking water before the rainmaking effort. Almost 78 percent of crops in the province were affected.

The local government has allocated 370 million yuan (US$48.6 million) to the drought-relief campaign.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2007)

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