Severe drought affecting southern China

Oct. 19, 2009 at 9:12 AM
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BEIJING, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A persistent, severe drought is stunting rice crops and drying up drinking water reservoirs in southern Chinese provinces, officials say.

With rainfall down 14 percent in the first 10 months of 2009 compared to an average year's precipitation, China's southern Guangdong Province has seen 135,000 acres of agricultural land affected and 50,000 people are facing difficulties in getting adequate drinking water, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

Guangdong Provincial Flooding and Drought Relief Headquarters says its 32 key reservoirs have seen a total water drop of 82.6 billion cubic feet.

"I have never seen such a severe drought in my life," a 73-year-old farmer in Zhoutian Township, Shaoguan City, told Xinhua. "A great deal of crops have been damaged."

The daily lives of the 70,000 residents of Nan'ao Island in Shantou City have been disrupted due to water restrictions, while more than 70,000 people in Zhangzhou City in the southeastern Fujian Province were short of drinking water, the news agency reported.

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