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North China on Drought Red Alert

Posted by feww on February 6, 2009

Drought: A China’s Arch Nemesis

“The wheat grass gets so dry that it catches fire! I’ve never seen this in my whole life,” said 50-year-old Wei Liuding, a farmer from north China’s Henan Province.

“All the wheat in my land is dying like this,” he told a Xinhua reporter, as he opened his hand revealing a bunch of dead grass.

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – ReliefWeb

Henan, heart of China’s bread basket, issued a drought red alert February 5. “The provincial meteorological bureau said the drought is the worst since 1951. The drought have affected about 63 percent of the province’s 78.9 million mu (5.26 million hectares) of wheat.” Xinhua reported.

Photo dated Feb. 2, 2009 shows the dry reservoir in Yiyang County of Luoyang city, central China’s Henan Province. (Xinhua Photo). Image may be subject to copyright.

Other provinces in northern China haven’t been spared by the persistent drought, either.

Anhui Province, which  issued a drought red alert Sunday, forecasts a major drought that could destroy more than two thirds of the crops north of the Huaihe River, unless it rains by no later than next week.

Shanxi Province was put on drought orange alert on January 21;  about a million people and 160,000 heads of livestock face water shortages.

Other provinces including Hebei and Jiangsu Shaanxi, Shandong are also affected by droughts.

Until the well runs dry! Villagers irrigate the thirsty wheat field with water from well in Gaoshan Township of Luoyang city, central China’s Henan Province, Feb. 2, 2009. (Xinhua Photo). Image may be subject to copyright.

Rainfall in north and central China was 50 to 80 percent lower than normal. About 155 million mu (10.33 million hectares) of crops are affected by the drought, according to data  released by the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Thursday.

“The rare drought which began in November, has threatened 143 million mu of winter wheat, with 46.35 million mu seriously affected.” The report said. [15 mu = 1ha.]

“Some 4.29 million people and 2.07 million livestock lack proper drinking water,” the report said.

Some areas have had no rain for nearly 4 months. The drought is threatening about 43 percent of the country’s winter wheat supplies.

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