South China drought worsens, threatening cropsThe drought in the provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan, as well as the Guangxi Autonomous Region and the city of Chongqing, has forced local governments to tap underground water sources and use cloud seeding to produce rain for agricultural production.
Thu Mar 18, 3:46 am ET
BEIJING – Parts of southern China are suffering from the worst drought in decades, leaving millions of people with inadequate water and huge areas of farmland too dry to plant, state media reported Thursday.
More than 20 million people throughout the southern region are dealing with water shortages and about 16 million acres (6.5 million hectares) of cropland are suffering from drought, the China Daily newspaper reported.
Yunnan province is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years, with at least 6 million people affected, according to a report on the China Meteorological Bureau's Web site. The drought has caused economic losses of 10 billion yuan (US$ 1.46 billion) in the province, mostly from lost crops or livestock, prompting the local government to pump water from sources hundreds of feet (dozens of meters) below ground, it said.
Meanwhile, more areas of China's Guangxi region have declared a state of emergency. Since late February, 16 more regions in Guangxi have been listed as affected, bringing the total to 77 regions, the Guangxi Meteorological Bureau said on its Web site.
The lack of rain has left tens of thousands of people without enough drinking water and may make it impossible for some to start spring planting, the bureau said. Calls to the bureau rang unanswered Thursday.