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Heat Wave in South Korea Kills Poultry, Threatens Drinking Water

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- A heat wave in South Korea has killed almost 800,000 chickens and caused algae outbreaks on rivers, threatening drinking water.

More than 40,000 ducks, 3,000 quails and 22 pigs have also died because of scorching heat since late July, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in an e-mailed statement today.

The North Asian nation on Aug. 1 issued its first heat wave warning in Seoul since the system was introduced in 2008 as temperatures in the capital city rose as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). The country’s southern regions are expected to have rain over the weekend, said Jang Hyun Sik, an official at the Korea Meteorological Administration.

The government is increasing water treatment in the upper tributaries of the Han River, the source of drinking water for Seoul, as green algae emerged due to the lack of precipitation and “the unprecedented heat wave,” according to the Ministry of Environment. No poisonous substances were found in drinking water, the ministry said on its website yesterday.

In a bid to ease the risk of power shortages, the government issued an alert to reflect a surge in power consumption and on Aug. 6 resumed operations at its oldest nuclear reactor. The country gets about a third of its electricity from nuclear generation.

Idle generation capacity has fallen to less than 3 million kilowatts, the first time since September 2011, when power failures occurred in several areas of the nation, Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk Woo told reporters on Aug. 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sungwoo Park in Seoul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Miller at

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