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August 18, 2009

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Severe drought lingers, threatens many crops

A SEVERE drought has affected 11.33 million hectares of crops in China, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said yesterday.

Among the affected crops, 4.2 million hectares suffered serious drought and 1.07 million hectares dried up, according to the headquarters.

About 3.9 million people and about 4.37 million livestock had trouble getting water.

Local governments have been working to ensure residents have water for daily use and to grow crops.

About 6.82 million people had participated in drought-fighting as of August 10 in the worst-hit areas of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as well as Jilin, Shanxi and Liaoning provinces.

About 340,000 automobiles had been mobilized to transport water as of August 10, according to the drought headquarters.

The western part of Liaoning received some light rain on Sunday night, the first in almost two months. The local meteorological department also seeded clouds to create artificial rain.

Authorities in Inner Mongolia made artificial rain more than 1,000 times as the area had its worst drought in 50 years. Officials also helped residents find water sources and build more water-saving and irrigation projects.

The hard-hit areas are China's main grain production bases. The drought may threaten the autumn harvest, said Zhang Xu, an official with the headquarters.



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