While seasonal downpours have wreaked havoc across east China, other areas are suffering the effects of this summer's drought, with about 7.6 million people in rural areas and 6.3 million livestock facing drinking water shortages.
To date, more than 5 million hectares of crops have been affected, with nearly 40 percent of those facing the prospect of a failed harvest, according to a source with the Beijing-based State Flood-control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
"There has not been enough rain in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia across north and northwest China since late last month. Dry spells have also hit mountainous regions in central China's Hunan and southwest China's Guizhou Province as well as Chongqing Municipality," the source said.
In Alxa League in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region where a drought has scorched the grasslands, camels' humps have shrunk and many goats have died of thirst.
"Bodies of dead goats can be seen along the roads," Lian Jun, a reporter working for China National Radio in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said in a report.
In Datong, Shuozhou, Xinzhou and Yuncheng cities in Shanxi Province, rain has been 70 percent less than normal while more than 1.4 million hectares of farmland, 40 percent of the province's total, are suffering the effects of drought.
In central China's Hunan Province, about 80,000 storage ponds have dried up, as have more than 1,170 rivulets in mountainous areas, due to the lack of rainfall since June.
In Xiushan, a county in southern Chongqing, residents in some villages have to travel up to seven kilometers to fetch water.
(China Daily August 12, 2005)