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Drought leaves 3.2 mln short of drinking water
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Severe drought in China has left 3.2 million people short of drinking water by Monday, according to the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The drought has also affected 18.15 million mu (1.21 million hectares) of farmland and left 2.57 million head of livestock short of drinking water.

Water level in the Xiangjiang River, tributary of China's largest river, the Yangtze, in Hunan Province, is at a record low. In the picture, a man catches river snails under the Juzizhou Bridge on November 15, 2007.

Since October, southern China has received 30 percent to 80 percent less rainfall than average in previous years, the office said.

For example, the southern provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi received 19 mm. and nine mm. of rainfall, respectively, or 86 percent and 90 percent below average.

Water levels in the Xiangjiang and Ganjiang rivers, tributaries of China's largest river, the Yangtze, in the two provinces, are at record lows.

Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resources, urged local authorities to keep a close watch on the drought and take effective measures to guarantee water supplies for residents and agricultural production this winter and next spring.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2007)

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