News / Asia

No End in Sight for China's Drought

People walk on a dried up pond at Hanzhuang village in Tangyin county in central China's Henan province (File Photo)
People walk on a dried up pond at Hanzhuang village in Tangyin county in central China's Henan province (File Photo)

A prolonged drought across much of China is threatening the country's wheat crop and could affect global food prices. Capital Beijing is among the regions badly affected by water shortages.

Beijing has not seen any rain or snow for a hundred days and the government warned the country Wednesday the drought does not look like it will end soon.

But the capital fares better than other areas suffering the worst drought in 60 years.

Shandong is a main agricultural producing province and sits in the heart of the country's eastern wheat belt, which grows 80 percent of the country's crop.

The government says farmers there are suffering from the worst drought in 300 years.

China’s drought control agency says more than five million hectares of crops have been damaged.

Millions of people in the east face severe drinking water shortages. The Water Resources Ministry says two-thirds of China’s cities are short of water.

Jonathan Watts, who has written extensively about the environmental effects of China’s modernization, says drought is not the only problem when it comes to water supplies in the country.

He says ever-increasing water demand in China has seen the natural water table and many lakes and rivers all but run dry. Pollution also has fouled many water sources.

But he says now the government seems willing to act and cut waste.

"The government has announced as a priority that it will double spending on water conservation and the next 10 years should see an improvement," said Watts. "It is not just finding new ways to increase supply but is actually about reducing the waste and perhaps even capping demand, and using water much more efficiently. This is really the way to go, and it seems like they are ready to do it."

The government has implemented an emergency response plan, putting parched areas on a 24-hour alert, dispatching experts and aid and ordering daily damage reports.

The dry spell prompted the United Nations World Food Program to warn Tuesday that China's wheat crop is now under threat.

Agricultural experts say this is bad news not only for China, but also for the world.

A poor harvest will see China import more grain, which could push up world prices, and adding soaring food inflation in many parts of the world.

China’s government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on drought relief this year. And the government is building a system to pump water hundreds of miles from the wet south to the dry north.

State media reported Wednesday the Three Gorges Dam discharged millions of liters of water to assist areas down many miles down stream.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid