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Irrigation, rain reduces drought-affected area
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Increasing irrigation and rainfalls have helped ease the rare drought sweeping north China, with significant drop in affected arable land, according to the latest data released Monday by the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

As of Monday, the acreage of drought-hit farmland was reduced by 25 million mu (1.67 million hectares) from the peak of 299 million mu on Feb. 7, and that of cropland was reduced by 24.37 million mu.

The eight winter wheat growing provinces including Hebei and Shanxi posted a combined drop of 21.44 million mu of affected winter wheat from Sunday and a drop of 22.99 million mu from Saturday.

The country still have 276 million mu farmland and 136 million mu cropland affected by the worst drought in half a century, which leaves 3.46 million people and 1.66 million livestock short of drinking water as of Monday.

The area of affected winter wheat in the eight provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu stood at 130 million mu.

(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2009)

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