While parts of China have been rocked by record snowfalls this winter, a drought in northern China has left more than 2 million people without sufficient drinking water, a state news agency said.
The drought has led to loss of arable land, livestock and drinking water, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, the official Xinhua News Agency said late Sunday.
China’s south and central areas has been hit by China’s worse snow storms in more than 50 years, but in the north 2.43 million people have been left without sufficient drinking water and 11.1 million hectares of arable land and 1.89 million livestock have been affected, Xinhua said.
“The north is suffering from a water shortage as the region’s rain and snow declined by 70 per cent this winter,” Xinhua quoted Zhang Zhitong, vice director of the general office of the headquarters, as saying.
Levels of groundwater have dropped in the north China plain, with 120,000 wells in Hebei and Shanxi provinces unable to pump water, Xinhua said.
China suffers from an uneven distribution of its water reserves. The north suffers from a lack of water resources compared to the south, but still has to support a growing population and agriculture for growing grain. The government has started building a $58 billion canal to bring water from the Yangtze River in central China to the arid north, which is expected to be fully completed by 2050.
Together, the drought and snow storms this winter have affected more than one-sixth of China’s arable land, Xinhua said. (AP)
Drought in north China leaves more than 2 million people without drinking water