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Drought-afflicted Sichuan Welcomes Rainstorms

Strong rainstorms occurred on Sunday in cities over the eastern Sichuan Basin, in southwest China, signaling a possible end to more than three months of drought.


The provincial observatory said the rainstorms had washed over the area from Sunday morning and some experts considered it a turning point, bringing lower temperatures, more rain and strong winds to the droughts-ravaged areas.


Meteorologists forecast rainstorms or showers with strong winds over the Sichuan Basin, covering most of the province, until Tuesday.


Downpours would hit 12 cities in Sichuan and the temperature peak was expected to drop by ten degrees Celsius, ending the long-lasting heatwave.


Over the past three months, the drought has left at least 18 million people short of drinking water in 15 provinces, municipalities and regions, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.


Sichuan Province has been hardest hit.


The Sichuan Provincial Meteorological Administration said central and eastern parts of the province had experienced temperatures of up to 40 degrees until Saturday.


The drought brought drinking water shortages to more than 10 million people in Sichuan.


(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2006)

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