Lingering droughts plague SW China

GUIYANG, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- A persistent drought in southwest China's Guizhou Province has created a water shortage for 5.5 million people and 2.8 million livestock, local authorities said.

Nearly 70 of the province's counties and cities have been plagued by the drought, according to a meteorological monitoring report released on Monday.

There will be little rain in Guizhou before mid-September, according to the report. Temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius will persist, exacerbating the effects of the drought, the report said.

The drought, which began in early July, has dried up hundreds of reservoirs and rivers, devastated crops and reduced available supplies of drinking water.

A long-lasting drought has also plagued southwest China's Sichuan Province, leaving 1.68 million people and 1.25 million livestock short of drinking water, said Yang Hai, a provincial drought relief official.

"Some counties and cites in Sichuan have been dealing with the drought for more than 50 days," said Yang, deputy head of the provincial agricultural water bureau's drought relief office.

Yang said that the drought has been particularly hard on rural residents, as many of them have to walk long distances to obtain drinking water.

The Sichuan provincial government has allocated 100 billion yuan (about 15.67 billion U.S. dollars) to create a drought relief fund.

Editor: Chen Zhi