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Drought Strikes N. China Province

September 1, 2002

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BEIJING (AP) _ A crippling drought in northern China’s Hebei province has left about 900,000 people and a third of the area’s farmland with a severe water shortage, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

Nearly 163,000 acres of crops have failed, Xinhua said, quoting a spokesman for the provincial water resources department.

About 210,000 head of livestock have also been affected, the agency said without elaborating.

In July, 3.27 inches of rain fell in Hebei, about half the normal amount, Xinhua said, and equipment at 160,000 machine-operated wells have been stopped to prevent excessive extraction of underground water.

The drought comes as seasonal floods elsewhere in China have inundated houses and farms and triggered landslides, causing about 1,000 deaths.

Hundreds of thousands of people living along the mighty Yangtze river _ China’s longest _ and its neighboring major lakes were threatened last month by rising floodwaters.

Levels have since dropped below the danger mark in some areas, Xinhua said.

Update hourly