Thursday, July 31, 2014

Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia face brunt of drought

Shaanxi province has been suffering its highest summer temperatures in the past decade. Little rainfall there has created difficulties in people's daily life, while severe drought is taking its toll on farmlands in Inner Mongolia.

In Sanyuan county of Shaanxi province, the only water source has dried up. For villagers, access to safe drinking water is a big issue.

The water is muddy. We drink it after filtering it as best as we can.

Months without rainfall have emptied the water cellars of most families. Even if there is some left, its quality is too poor to drink. This single barrel of water, villagers say, supports four people for ten days.

A year without harvest has been predicted. Usually this is the time when corn is ready for harvesting. But this year the story is very different.

"All the farmlands are like this. We have no water for agriculture, and all our crops will be ruined if there is no rain," A villager from Sanshe Village, Sanyuan County, said.

Local authorities have dug 8 wells, which barely meet the demands of 200-thousand people in the county.

In Chifeng city of Inner Mongolia, pests have been threatening the survival of nearl half a million hectares of pastures.

In Tongliao city, monitoring data is showing an increase in the number of locusts.
Over 17 million kilograms of crops have been eaten. There are just a few left.

"There are many locusts this year. They are concentrating along the rail line. There are 50 locusts in one square kilometer," An Jun with Agriculture Tech. Station, Tongliao City, said.

Local authorities have allocated funds for farmers to buy pesticides and equipment to kill the locusts. Technical professionals have also been organised to help with the farmlands.

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