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Drought spreading across China

2010-03-20 13:58 BJT

Severe drought is continuing to plague southwest China, and is spreading to other parts of the country. These are the worst conditions the region has ever seen in a century. The government is calling on people to use water sparingly.

The drought has affected about 6.5 million hectares of farmland around the country. More than 20 million people and 12 million head of livestock are short of drinking water.

Zhang Xu, Dep. Director-General of Drough Relief HQ, said,  "Southwest China is facing the most severe situation. Nearly 90 per cent of China's drought-affected farmland is in Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan and Chongqing. And more than half of that is in Yunnan province."

Photo taken on March 17, 2010 shows the thirsty fields of a terrace in Donglan County, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The drought in Donglan County, one of the drought-stricken areas in Guangxi, had affected 82,300 Mu (5486 hectares) of farmland by March 17 and 81,600 people were denied easy access to drinking water. The local government and people were mobilized to fight against the drought here. (Xinhua/Zhang Ailin)
Photo taken on March 17, 2010 shows the thirsty fields of a terrace in 
Donglan County, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The 
drought in Donglan County, one of the drought-stricken areas in Guangxi, 
had affected 82,300 Mu (5486 hectares) of farmland by March 17 and 81,600 
people were denied easy access to drinking water. The local government 
and people were mobilized to fight against the drought here. 
(Xinhua/Zhang Ailin)

Relief work is becoming difficult because the dry conditions have lasted for such a long time, reducing available water sources.

The choice of whether to use water for people or farming is becoming more difficult.

Zhang said, "We should detail a water supply plan, consolidate water management, economize our use of water, and use every method to ensure water supply."
The drought has affected the last three harvest seasons. Experts say the hot and dry weather will continue in southwest China for the foreseeable future.

As spring ploughing begins, north-west, northern and northeast China are also suffering dry conditions.

Editor: James | Source: