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1 Mln People Short of Drinking Water in Guangxi

More than one million people in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are facing drinking water shortages due to a prolonged drought since this autumn, local authorities confirmed on Monday.

Some 230,000 hectares of crops have been affected, and about 496,000 cattle are also in need of drinking water.

According to local flood control and drought relief headquarters, 419 reservoirs, or one tenth of the total, have dried up, while 1,900 wells can not supply sufficient water.

The amount of rainfall during October and November in Guangxi was only recorded as 33 millimeters, 34 percent lower than the normal amount. There has been no rain in December so far.

The local government has earmarked 247 million yuan (US$32.9 million) and mobilized more than 840,000 people to fight the drought. It plans to implement some drought-relief projects with another 2.29 billion yuan (US$0.3 billion) across the region.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said earlier this month that drought had been afflicting more areas of the country with greater frequency recently. It had extended from the northern and western regions to the southern and eastern areas.

Experts have blamed climate change for the severity of the droughts.

(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2007)

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