Severe drought drags on in central China

Updated: 2011-05-24 16:35


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Severe drought drags on in central China
Dead fish are seen at the partially dried-up Honghu Lake in Honghu, Hubei province May 20, 2011. The Yangtze River, China's longest, has been plagued by a severe drought, with the lowest level of rainfall this year since 1961, an official with the river's flood control and drought relief headquarters said Monday, Xinhua News Agency reported. [Photo/Agencies]

WUHAN - Central China's Hubei province's lingering drought has affected 9.89 million people, about one sixth of its population, according to a survey conducted by the the provincial civil affairs department.

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In the more than 200 days since the end of last autumn, the majority of Hubei has received 50 percent less rainfall than in the corresponding period last year. In wake of the bleak situation, Hubei yesterday announced an emergency alert, said an official with the department

Despite the rainfall in last weekend, the drought has not abated. As of Tuesday, crops have been lost over an area of 390,000 mu (26,000 hectares), and an additional 13.34 million mu (about 88.93 million hectares) of crops lack water and could be lost.

Hubei's civil affairs departments have been sending water and pumping more water from reservoirs.

China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project, which is located in Hubei, began to discharge more water to the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River to fight the drought.

Water levels in the middle and lower reaches of the river have risen recently, according to figures released by the Yangtze River Water Conservancy Commission.

The 10-day forecast for Hubei predicts there will be no effective rainfall, so the drought will likely continue, according to a report by Hubei's meteorological bureau.


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