Guizhou’s Worst Drought in 100 Years

SE China is suffering a prolonged drought, especially in Guizhou and Yunnan provinces. The China Daily has been following this with all sorts of recent coverage, here, here, and here. According to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), 4.09 million hectares of farmland in SW China have been affected, and 2.2 million hectares of that cropland have been seriously damaged from this years prolonged drought.


To put things in perspective 2.2 million hectares of seriously damaged cropland is 22,000 square kilometers or about 8,500 square miles. For a sense of scale think an area the size of Israel, or perhaps Massachsetts without its tail.

Whats more important though is the number of people who depend on water resources in that area. In Guizhou emergency water provision has been provided for 2.5 million people. Nearly 1 million people still have no access to water.  7 million people in Yunnan Province are currently receiving emergency water support.  Again, to put thins in perspective, that would be the same as providing emergency water services for all of New York City. Or the entire population of Sweden. Small compared to the rest of China’s population, but by no means a small or insignificant undertaking.

Villagers have also taken to collecting their own water throughout the region, with Yunnan photos here, and Guizhou photos here.

Economically, nearly $1 billion in agricultural damage has been inflicted to Yunnan. Now, that might not be a lot in US terms, but considering per capita incomes in China are far below US, the economic impact of that lost productivity is spread out far more and has a much higher impact on the average person.

Officials suggest that the drought could last through May.

PHOTO: A child waits for water with a bucket in hand in Huoshipeng village, Dongshan town in Xuanwei, Southwest China’s Yunnan province on March 5, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]


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