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North China Province on Flood Alert after Six Years of Drought
North China's Hebei Province has been put on flood alert as the province enters the rainy season.

According to the provincial meteorological bureau, Hebei has suffered from a constant drought since 1996, with the annual average of rainfall down by 19 percent.

Historical records reveal that the longest period of drought in the province was seven years. The longer drought lasts, the more flooding was likely, said the meteorologists.

Sources with national meteorological departments said there were two rain-rich zones in China from June to August. The northern zone covers the areas like the Yellow River, Hebei, Beijing and the southern parts of northeast China.

Since May, four large-scale rainfalls have occurred in Hebei. The total rainfall in the capital city of Shijiazhuang this year is 2.4 times more than the same period last year.

Due to the rainstorms and hail, several villages suffered flooding and over 130 people had to be rescued from May 26 to 28.

All main rivers and 18 reservoirs were being monitored and maintained and 27 rescue teams were ready for possible severe floods, said the provincial meteorological bureau.

(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2003)

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