Worst Drought in 50 Years Leaves China Thirsty

The worst drought to hit China in 50 years will continue to dry up crops and leave millions of people thirsty, despite a light rain that began to fall this week, according to Chinese meteorologists.

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Nationwide, the drought has left more than 18 million Chinese people in 15 provinces and regions without sufficient drinking water, according to the Ministry of Water Resources, as reported by Xinhua and China Daily. More than 130 million hectares of cropland and at least 17 million livestock have been affected by the drought.

To help alleviate the worst effects of the drought, local governments have dug nearly 30,000 new wells and dispatched 13,“water wagons” to bring water to drought-ravaged villages. Still, villagers receive only one bucket of water daily for each family, and they must ration every drop. For example, a basin of water may be used to wash rice and vegetables, and then reused to bathe each member of the family before being used to water pigs and cattle.

Crop losses and other property damage amount to billions of dollars already, and the drought is far from over.

Li Biquan, a 73-year-old farmer from Yujiaba Village, Wusheng County in Guang'an, told China Daily that the drought has left he and his wife with little to show for months of back-breaking work in the hot sun: "We can't believe this—a half year of hard work has come to nothing. Our grain output will be down by 80 percent compared with last year."

China is not the only nation affected by drought. More than 60 percent of the United States is in the grip of the third-worst drought in U.S. history, according to reports by the National Drought Mitigation Center, and drought is also affecting many parts of Europe and Latin America.

Original article: About - Environment
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