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Floods, droughts, landslides and powerful earthquakes killed hundreds and displaced thousands of Chinese residents in the first seven months of 2013. The disasters brought hardship to areas already known for poverty and poor infrastructure. Food supplies have also been threatened and many fear that the world’s largest population may soon face a crisis of considerable magnitude.
“China saw an average of 165.4 millimeters (6.51 inches) of rain between June 1 and July 15,” ABC News reported. “That was 5 percent more than usual and the most during that period in five years. Central China has been hardest hit, receiving 40.1 percent more rain than usual during that six-week period.”
Elsewhere, a severe drought struck Hunan province in the southeastern part of the country, ravaging crops and depleting water supplies.
“Eighty-seven counties of 12 cities and prefectures in the province have been affected by the drought, with about 3.9 million mu (260,000 hectares) of crops damaged and 216,000 heads of livestock short of water, according to the [provincial drought relief] headquarters,” Xinhua News Agency stated.
The Gansu province in the western section of the country also experienced two separate quakes measuring 5.98 and 5.6 in magnitude within hours of each other that resulted in approximately 100 deaths and more than 500 injuries. This region “has been hit by 371 aftershocks, according to the Earthquake Administration of Gansu province. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital, Lanzhou, and as far away as Xian, 400km (250 miles) to the east,” BBC News reported.
According to Xinhua, approximately 3,000 police and rescue personnel were dispatched to the region, but additional flooding and landslides have continued to frustrate their efforts.
“Gansu abuts Sichuan province, where a 6.6 quake in April killed 164 people and injured more than 6,700, China’s worst quake in three years,” Reuters stated. “That quake hit close to where a devastating 7.9 temblor killed some 70,000 people in May 2008.”