Spring drought parches South China

11:17, May 30, 2011      

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In South China, where much of the area seems unable to shake off a drought that began last winter. The situation has become worse since the arrival of spring.

Provinces including Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Chongqing Municipality remain parched, and up to 120-thousand people have been affected.

Danielle Taff takes a look at how farmers are coping in one of China's largest rice producing regions.

A lifeline drying up.

This cracked land was once a pond not rare sight in Hubei Province.

All farmers here can do is endure the thirst.

Yuan Fang, Hubei Farmer, said, "We planted the green vegetable, youcai first, but most of them withered. Now,we plant peanuts instead, but they have not germinated yet."

Not only are peanuts suffering, more than half of the rice planted in the province is drying up as well.

According to the local Agricultural Bureau, the output of crops such as rice and the Chinese green vegetable, youcai, will see a dramatic drop.

Huang Yao, Deputy Head, Hong'An Couty Agricultural Bureau, said, "Due to the rare dry weather, we estimate the output of youcai and rice will be reduced by 40-percent."

So far, more than 13-million hectares of land are drying up in Hubei Province, with worst hit areas covering 4-million hectares.

The local Metrological Bureau says, despite the coming rainfall, the situation ahead does not look bright.

Liu Min, Hubei Meteorological Bureau, said, "Our province has seen only a drop of rainfall since last November. Rainfall in the northeast province has declined by 70-percent. The rain in the next few days will help ease the dry spell, but it is not obvious due to the small amount."

So far, local authorities are installing pump stations and anti-drought facilities in the worst-hit areas.

As well as this, they're also re-allocating water from reservoirs in other provinces.

However, despite these efforts, the drought and the misery for farmers is set to continue.

Source: CNTV


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