Southwestern China Suffering from Worst Drought in 50 Years

China’s state meteorological bureau has reported the most severe drought conditions in over 50 years in the southwestern region of Chongqing, and neighboring Sichuan province. Sustained high temperatures and low summer rainfall have also brought drought to parts of southwestern Guizhou province, the central province of Hubei, northwest Ningxia region and Gansu province.

In Chongqing alone, 7.5 million people lacked adequate drinking water. Soaring temperatures and low rainfall have laid waste to Chongqing's summer crops, with economic losses estimated at 2.5 billion yuan (US$313 million). Because dry weather is predicted to linger for several more weeks, fall vegetable harvests were also likely to be severely affected. Chongqing produces mainly cash crops including rice, wheat, corn, oil-bearing crops, and soil-based vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and radishes.

Chongqing has suffered more than 70 forest fires in August, and the water level in its section of the Yangtze River is at its lowest in 100 years.

“Drought in Southwestern China Worst in 50 Years – Report,” Reuters via PlanetArk, 17 August 2006.