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5.12.2005

China facing "apocalyptic" summer of severe drought and floods



BEIJING - China is facing an "apocalyptic" summer of severe drought and floods, a leading weather expert has warned, with water supplies and grain production under threat.

"China may face a grim situation from seasonal floods or drought this year with potential damage worse than that of last year," said Qin Dahe, a top official at the China Meteorological Administration.

"There will be much fear of a bad harvest this year."

Qin was speaking during a national televised conference on summer weather forecasting and services, said the China Daily, which reported him as saying China faced an "apocalyptic" situation.

He warned the probabilities of weather-related disasters were high with the rainy season already underway in parts of south China while the national flood season was imminent.

Thousands of people die every year from floods, landslides and mudflows in China, with millions left homeless.

While some parts of the huge country suffer massive rainfall, other parts are ravaged by drought, with drinking water and grain yields hit.

Qin said most of western and northeast China as well as parts of south China are in the midst of their worst drought in 50 years and no end was in sight, while huge rain belts were forecast for other areas.