There is no let up in the drought parching southwestern China that has left at least 12 million people short of water across Yunan (seen above), Guizhou, Hunan, Sichuan and Chongqing. State media report that emergency response teams have now been dispatched to Sichuan, as they were to Guizhou and Yunnan earlier.
In Sichuan more than 2 million people now face water shortages, up from the 1.7 million reported earlier in the week. More than 1.2 million head of livestock are short of water and 70,000 hectares of crops in the province have been ruined. In Guizhou, 5.5 million people are reported short of water, and 2.8 million livestock. The drought conditions started in July and there is no sign of any break in the high temperatures that have persisted since. Reservoirs and rivers have shriveled or dried up, as has the reservoir at Qujing City in Yunnan shown in the photograph above taken on Aug. 23.
In all, across the four provinces and the municipality of Chongqing, 5.9 million hectares of crops have been affected. Earlier in the week, the National Bureau of Statistics said that the country’s early season rice harvest was 4.5% higher than last year’s despite the parched conditions in the southwest. Harvested acreage was down by 0.8%, the bureau noted.