China: Flood and Famine

For the first time, Peking asks for international aid

Officials of international aid organizations in Geneva last week were privately nervous—and somewhat aghast. They were finally digesting the consequences of a calamity that has spawned rumors and speculation for months. China, the world's most populous nation, is suffering from the worst—and least publicized—series of natural disasters since its 1976 Tangshan earthquake. Some 20 million people in two widely separated regions of the country are living on meager government-supplied cereal rations as they cope with the twin catastrophes of flood and drought. For the first time in its 31-year history, the Chinese...

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