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Drought spreads through north, southwest China
(23 May 2001) The majority of north China is once again suffering from a serious drought, but this time, so is southwest China, according to the State Flood Control and Anti-Drought Head Office.
The latest statistics show that the current nationwide drought has hit an area that extends over 20.6 million hectares (50.9 million acres), reported the May 22 Zhongyang Dianshitai (China Central Television).
The situation is making it difficult for 14.6 million people and 11.5 million animals to get drinking water.
Last year’s drought (click here for map) caused the lowest grain harvest in six years. This spring, the drought is impacting the production of summer grains. A total of 1.87 million hectares (4.62 million acres) of crop-growing area are affected, one-eighth of which is dried area that will not yield grains, the article said.
The serious drought has also caused difficulties in seeding for grains that will be harvested in autumn, resulting in the seeding program being dramatically slowed down.
According to officials from the State Flood Control and Anti-Drought Head Office, the drought was caused by unusually scant rain in the majority of China’s regions. Seriously insufficient water sources, reserved for anti-drought, also exacerbate the situation. At the beginning of May, the water reserve in the large reservoirs of eight northern provinces was 20 percent less than a year ago, the article said.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), May 24, 2001