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Consequences of long drought devastating

By Wang Qian and Guo Anfei  (China Daily)

08:58, March 19, 2013

A parched pond in Weining county, Guizhou province, shows the severity of a drought hitting southwestern areas. Photo by Yang Wenbin / For China Daily

No rainfall expected in parched southwest for at least nine days

Every day, Zhu Chunquan walks 16 kilometers through the mountains of Southwest China to fetch water for his family.

His village, Ziniu, in Yunnan province, has not seen a drop of rain since February.

"No one knows when the drought will end," the 48-year-old farmer said, as he looked at the dry soil.

Apart from the sale of dry apricots from his 1 hectare orchard, he has made no money this year. Some of his neighbors have gone to Kunming, the provincial capital, to find temporary work.

The drought that has crippled southwestern regions since last year has shown little sign of abating, affecting the water supplies of millions of people.

According to the China Meteorological Administration, no rainfall is expected in parched areas, including Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, for at least nine days.

Li Xiaoquan, a meteorologist for the administration, said the drought may ease when the rainy season begins in May.

This is the fourth year Yunnan has suffered a severe drought, said Kong Chuizhu, vice-chairman of the standing committee of the Yunnan people’s congress, and the problem is expected to continue.

Climate models show rainfall patterns are changing, and the National Climate Center predicts a possible decrease in precipitation in the south over the next 20 years.

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