Friday, August 1, 2014

Worst Drought in Over 60 Years Hits China’s Henan and Inner Mongolia

Severe heat and lingering drought have damaged crops in Henan and Inner Mongolia, and have been affecting power and water supply as rivers and reservoirs continue to dry up.

In what is now dubbed as the worst drought to hit China in more than six decades, central China's province of Henan and the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia has been suffering from the lack of water and rain for several weeks.

Xinhua news agency reported on Monday that the severe drought had destroyed more than a million hectares of farmland in the areas without any hope of refuge in sight

The central China province is considered one of the major producers of food crops such as soybeans, rice and barley.

In some areas, commercial use of water has been blocked and water intensive industries have been ordered to limit water usage.

According to reports, 35 percent of Henan's small reservoirs have dried up as six cities have opted to tap reserve underground water. Around 245,000 Chinese citizens in the region are affected by the scarcity of drinkable water.

Since the beginning of July, rainfall has dropped 60 percent below the normal average downpour for previous years.

On Tuesday, Henan farmers in Zhengzhou, Jiaozuo, Luohe and Xinxiang were blessed with a little rainfall, though it was not enough to sustain their crops.

"The precipitation was only 30 millimeters. The rain did lessen the current drought in east and north of Henan Province," Chief Weatherman He Zhe from the Henan Meteorological Center told a Chinese-based news agency.

He explained that though rain can be expected on Thursday, the two-month dry spell will still linger for at least a week more.

In desperation, farmers leave very little water for any other purposes and use most of the reserves to have their crops survive the rest of the dry season.

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