Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Millions in Sichuan in dire need of water


Nearly 7 million people in southwest China are in urgent need of drinking water due to a severe drought, state press said yesterday, as other parts of the country suffered widespread flooding.

The months-long drought in Sichuan Province had affected 37.6 million people, with 6.84 million residents desperately in need of drinking water, the China Daily said, citing provincial officials.

The drought had already killed 129 million head of livestock and was threatening the lives of another 8.5 million farm animals, the report said.

The worst hit area was the city of Suining in northern Sichuan, which received just 32.9mm of rainfall from June 21 to July 31, the lowest since 1947, the paper said.

The rainfall for Suining was just 25 percent of the normal figure for this time of year, it said, citing the West China Metropolis Daily.

In Suining's Shanxisi Village, residents ran out of water on July 17 and were relying on emergency supplies provided by the local fire brigade, according to the report.

Cropland had also been destroyed, with 2.61 million hectares of farmland ruined, causing losses of 4.85 billion yuan, it said.

Authorities allocated 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million) for drought relief operations, the China Daily said, citing data from the province's Civil Affairs Administration.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) has ordered government departments to focus on drought relief work.

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