Floods, drought hit south central China

BEIJING Fri Aug 5, 2011 5:04am EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Flood waters from a river in China's southwestern province of Sichuan forced thousands to evacuate Friday, while residents in nearby Hunan province face severe shortages of water for drinking and crops, Chinese state media said.

At least 2,381 homes collapsed after heavy rain caused the Zhouhe river near Dazhou city in Sichuan to overflow, forcing more than 13,000 people to evacuate, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua said injuries were limited but that roads and power had been cut off in the region, which frequently suffers from floods.

In a separate article, the news agency said 400,000 rural residents in the city of Huaihua in central Hunan province about 500 kilometers (300 miles) away from Dazhou were suffering from a lingering drought.

The drought had destroyed 140,000 hectares of cropland, dried up 1,200 wells and would seriously impair the autumn grain output, it said, citing regional authorities.

After months of drought, weeks of heavy rain in June in southern and central parts of China caused flooding and landslides that claimed more than 100 lives.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Ken Wills)

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