Millions short of water as drought hits eastern China

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

BEIJING - A severe drought in China’s eastern Shandong province has left tens of thousands of people short of drinking water and dried up vast swathes of farmland.

The drought, worst in 50 years, has left some 240,000 people short of drinking water. It also hit about 1.84 million hectares of cropland, Xinhua reported citing authorities.

Shandong received an average of nine millimeters of rainfall, 86 percent below the average of previous years, from Sep 23 to date, said Yin Changwen, spokesman of the Shandong Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The dry-spell will likely continue, with no rain or snow forecast for the near future.

The provincial government has meanwhile tapped the underground water for supplying it to drought-hit areas.

Even as Shandong is reeling under the nature’s wrath another province in northern China has been hit by drought.

Shanxi province received an average rainfall of just 1.7 mm, 89 percent below the average of the previous years, between Nov 1 and Dec 21, said Jin Ning, of Shanxi Climate Centre.

One-third of Shanxi’s cities and counties have been without rain or snow since November, said Jin.

The current cold snap sweeping the country is unlikely to bring rain or snow to the drought-hit areas, said Zhou Bin, an expert with the China Meteorology Administration’s National Climate Centre.

China has been hit by lingering droughts this year that have have plagued the northern and eastern provinces of Shandong, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu and Anhui.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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