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Drought hits millions in southwestern China

BEIJING: A severe drought has left four million people short of drinking water in southwest China, state media reported Tuesday, as the vast country battles a crippling water shortage.
Some 4.46 million head of livestock were also affected by the drought in Sichuan, where parts of the province have not seen any rain for up to 40 days, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the province's meteorological bureau. Around 110,000 people are depending on deliveries of water by truck, according to the provincial water resources department.The drought has also prevented large areas of farmland from being seeded because of a lack of moisture and many of the crops that have been planted have shrivelled, the report added. Last month, more than 4.8 million people in northern Gansu province faced similar shortages following the worst drought there since the 1940s, Xinhua said, citing state drought relief authorities. China last year suffered a range of extreme weather events, including exceptionally strong typhoons, floods and droughts, which local meteorological officials have partly attributed to the effects of climate change.

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Fast-spreading, foul-smelling blue-green algae smothered a lake in eastern China, contaminating the drinking water for millions of people and sparking panic-buying of bottled water. Prices skyrocketed from $1 to $6.50 for a two-gallon bottle. The algae bloom in Lake Tai, a famous but long-polluted tourist attraction in Jiangsu province, formed because WATER LEVELS ARE AT THEIR LOWEST IN 50 YEARS, leading to excess nutrients in the water. Officials in Wuxi, a city along the banks of the lake, called an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss measures to deal with the situation and allay public fears. "The smell of our tap water is just so awful. If you use the water to shower, the smell will stay on your body." "People form long queues in the supermarkets for bottled water. Nobody expected something like this to happen. We aren't prepared."

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