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China's Yunnan province battles severe drought

2010-01-31 14:05 BJT


Months of scarce rainfall has caused the worst drought in a half a century, in Southwest China's Yunnan province. For villagers in the mountainous rural areas, securing even a basic water supply has become a challenge.

Long stretches of bare earth and soil, exposed by the scorching sun. It's rare for a sub-tropical region, like Yunnan.

The lush green here has gone. And the landscape looks more like that of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River.

People here haven't seen even a single drop of rain since August last year.

Xia Zhong, Party Secretary, Tuanshan Village, Chuxiong, said, "We used to use this pond to store water from rains and use the water to irrigate the fields downhill. The village has 7 such ponds. They are all dried up."

The yield of corn and other crops last Autumn was far less than usual, due to the scarcity of irrigation water. And villagers have given up hope of salvaging even a small harvest from this Spring's wheat.

The most important concern for now is getting enough water to drink and use. The only source of water is the river at the foot of the mountain. More than 5,000 families in the village have been relying solely on it for nearly six months.

Villager, said, "I live near the top of the mountain, about two kilometers from here. It takes a long time for us to go back and forth to carry water. Actually, 70 percent of my time in the day."

There are many others facing the same problem as the villagers in Tuanshan. Authorities say more than 3 million people are being threatened with a shortage of drinking water, province wide.

Temperatures remain high in most of these areas. Rain is unlikely, but it's what these people need most to ease their anxiety even just a little.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: