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Drought continues in central and southern China

DAVID GRAY / Reuters

Rice and crab farmer Pi Xiaozhen (front) ,wearing a traditional cone-shaped Chinese farming hat, watches as her husband Yong Houying carries water to irrigate their cotton crop, grown due to their failing rice crop, near the village of Wanghu in central China's Hubei Province May 30, 2011. Almost 35 million people across five provinces on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze have been affected to different degrees by the drought, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said last week. That number includes 4.2 million who have difficulty getting drinkable water. Direct economic losses are nearing 15 billion yuan ($2.3 billion), it said. Farmers said they would need generous rainfall in coming weeks, or the first of their two annual rice crops could wither and die, and more of the thousands of fish and crab farms could lose all their stock.

HOW HWEE YOUNG / EPA

A view of the water level indicators of the Three Gorges Dam reservoir where the water level has dropped to below 151m where before it was as high as 173m in Sandouping town of Yichang, Hubei Province, central China, 30 May 2011. China is hurriedly increasing water discharges from the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydro power complex, to relief its drought-plagued central and eastern provinces as a severe drought continues, the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said 28 May 2011. China is suffering one of the worst drought in 50 years in provinces along the Yangtze River affecting more than 34 million people in provinces along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The Three Gorges Dam has unleashed more than 2.76 billion cubic meters of water since May, reducing the reservoir's water level from 175 meters to 150.9 meters as of 28 May according to the Dam.

DAVID GRAY / Reuters

Workers on river-boats fill bags of gravel after removing it from the banks of the near-empty Neijing River, near the city of Honghu in central China's Hubei Province May 30, 2011.

DAVID GRAY / Reuters

A farmer and his wife dig a well in a paddy field near the town of Pao Ma village, which translates to "Running Horse", in central China's Hubei Province May 30, 2011.

Here's a story about the drought affecting 35 million people.