While much of the country has been inundated by the worst rains
of the year, widespread and prolonged drought is plaguing the
northern, northeastern and southern regions.
By the weekend, it had left at least 7.5 million people and 5
million head of livestock short of drinking water, according to
figures from the Office of the State Flood Control and Drought
Relief Headquarters (SFDH).
The figures also show the sustained drought has affected 11
million hectares of arable land, 1.7 million more than the same
period of last year. Among the affected, about 9.8 million
hectares, or 89 percent, are crop fields.
Cheng Dianlong, deputy director of the SFDH, said the worst-hit
regions were Heilongjiang and Jilin in the northeast, Inner
Mongolia in the north, Jiangxi in the east, Guangxi in the south
and Hunan in Central China.
He said severe drought had affected at least one-third of the
arable land in Heilongjiang, Jiangxi and Hunan, causing huge
In Jiangxi Province, where more than 1 million people face
drinking water shortages, 47 counties have carried out a total of
335 artificial rainfall operations, bringing almost 500 million cu
m of rain, according to a Xinhua report.
In Heilongjiang, a major grain base, the local meteorological
station has warned parts of the province might experience a
Cheng attributed the widespread drought to "continuous hot
weather and insufficient rainfall".
He said since last month, the rainfall in Heilongjiang, Inner
Mongolia and some parts of the southern and eastern regions was
only half of the normal amount.
Even new reservoirs in eight provinces, including Heilongjiang,
Jiangxi and Guangdong, contained 15 billion cu m less than they did
at the same time last, Chen said.
The SFDH predicted the drought would worsen as no significant
rainfall was forecast for the next 10 days.
In response to that, the office called for better monitoring of
the drought and asked for relevant departments, such as the
Ministry of Civil Affairs, to help allocate financial and material
The Ministry of Finance has allocated 1.48 billion yuan (US$195
million) to fight drought and floods across the country.
(China Daily August 6, 2007)