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Over 1 mln people face water shortage in drought-ravaged central China province

05-30-2011 22:09 BJT Special Report:Severe Drought Hits South China |

CHANGSHA, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The worst drought to hit Hunan Province in nearly a century has caused water shortages that have affected 1.11 million people in this central China province, said an official with the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

China's "land of fish and rice" has seen its lowest levels of rainfall since 1910, according to the official. As of Monday, 13 of Hunan's 14 major cities have been affected by the drought, the official said.

Continuously shrinking lakes and rivers have left 157 towns in Hunan without adequate supplies of water, according to the official.

Over 10 million mu (about 709,000 hectares) of farmland in Hunan have been directly impacted by the drought, with 1.79 million mu of crops rendered unharvestable.

Water levels in 30 percent of Hunan's reservoirs have dropped below "acceptable" levels, preventing them from being used for irrigation, the official said.

Hunan's Dongting Lake, China's second largest freshwater lake, has seen its water surface shrink to 780 square kilometers, more than 30 percent less than the level of normal years, according to the official.

The lake's amount of cumulative rainfall has dropped by 50 to 60 percent in comparison to records from previous years, according to the provincial meteorological station.

The Hunan Provincial government has already allocated 310 million yuan (about 47.8 million U.S. dollars) toward drought-relief efforts, including digging new wells and pumping water into the province from other areas.

Droughts across the country had impacted 104.4 million mu, or more than 5 percent, of China's farmlands as of Sunday, the country's top drought relief authority said.

The lingering drought has affected 3.29 million people and 950,000 livestock in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan, according to the latest statistics from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH).

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: CNTV.CN

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