Severe and persistent drought is affecting southwest China’s Yunnan Province, severely limiting access to drinking water and causing a huge impact on the province’s agricultural sector. The provincial meteorological department has started carrying out artificial precipitation operations in the air and on the ground.
The province has seen less amount of precipitation and higher temperature since spring, Xinhua reported. Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, the cities of Pu’er and Yuxi have issued a red alert for high temperatures successively in recent days. Schools in Xishuangbanna even suspended classes due to the severe hot weather.
Data from China’s meteorological department shows that from April 1 to May 17, the average precipitation in Yunnan was 35.3 mm (1.38 inches), about 63% less than that of the same period in previous years, hitting a record low since 1961.
Meanwhile, the average temperature of the province was about 1.9 °C (3.4 °F) higher – a record high since 1961, CGTN quoted government officials.
1.1 million people have been affected, with more than 309 000 having difficulties accessing drinking water. Meanwhile, at least 93 000 domestic animals are also facing a water shortage.
Yunnan’s northwest, middle and south are the worst affected.
According to the provincial department of agriculture and rural affairs, the drought is affecting more than 700 000 ha (1.7 million acres) of crops across 110 monitored sites. A total of 232 353 ha (574 156 acres) of crops were damaged and 13 020 ha (32 173 acres) were completely destroyed, according to the department.
Large areas of crops including rice, corn, potato, rubber, flue-cured tobacco and various vegetables have largely withered, CGTN reports.
From May 19 to 22, the provincial meteorological department carried out artificial precipitation operations in the air and from the ground in the areas where conditions permitted. Such efforts will continue in the following days, CGTN said.