Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hope Drying Up

Vast areas of China's wheat producing areas are suffering from drought.

A lack of rainfall in northern China has led to areas that are literally bone dry. River beds and ponds have dried up, with pictures showing children playing in what used to be covered in water and not a drop of H2O in sight.

The drought is affecting 93 million hectares of land, or 43 percent of the country's total wheat-producing areas.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered all out efforts in fighting the drought, pouring in an additional RMB 300 million ($44 million) to the RMB 100 million already allocated.

The State Council has ordered relevant departments "to enhance farmland management, mobilize human resources, ensure technology service and enlarge irrigation areas".

The Ministry of Agriculture has sent 12 working teams of experts to direct farmers on drought relief work.

Some areas are even looking into firing rockets into the sky to stimulate rain clouds and hopefully some rainfall.

How did it all come to this?

If areas haven't had rain for a few months or weeks, something needs to be done right away. Why did they wait until yesterday when the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters issued an orange alert?

Now the state media are showing pictures of fire crews spraying water on parched areas. There are also plans to direct water to the dry areas. But what about the poorer areas where it is so dry that it looks like a desert? Is redirecting water a temporary solution that doesn't really solve the problem?

Not only are migrant workers returning to their homes because they can't find a job, but also coming back to see their land so dry they can't even grow anything in the dried up soil.

Sounds like the economic crisis is compounding further...

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