Half of China hit by drought

The half of China hit by drought

This year, the China faces extreme weather conditions, which are exacerbated by global warming.

Sweltering temperatures and lack of rain: An unprecedented heatwave causes drought across half of China's vast territory, from the snow-capped mountains of Tibet to the beaches in the east of the country.

On the podium of the hottest Chinese cities in recent days, there is the municipality-province of Chongqing (southwest), where 31 million people live. Thursday, it continued to suffer.

While the thermometer reads 41.9°C, many residents seek a bit of freshness in shopping malls or the metro.

Seated on makeshift seats, some are playing cards to pass time. Others are resting on the ground, exhausted by the heat.

On social networks, some were complaining about having to queue in the middle of a heat wave to be tested, after an epidemic rebound of COVID-19 in the immense metropolis.

Heat waves in the middle of summer are not unusual in China, especially in the arid west and south of the country.

But this year the country faces extreme weather conditions, exacerbated by global warming, say scientists.

Part of China is experiencing its hottest summer since its meteorological records began more than 60 years old. A situation unprecedented in its duration – more than 70 days of high heat – but also in its magnitude.

Several major cities have recorded the hottest days in their history and, due to lack of precipitation, many rivers have dried up, like the largest river in the country, the Yangtze.

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These climatic conditions jeopardize harvests and weaken the electricity network, at a time when millions of inhabitants are turning on their air conditioning.

The drought is now affecting half of China's territory to varying degrees, according to a map released Wednesday by the national meteorological service.

Firefighters deliver water to communities hard hit by drought.

Whole swaths of the country are affected, with in particular a wide strip that encompasses the southern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region (west), which is very mountainous, and extends to the coastal regions to the east, the lung economy of China.

This vast area, which has a total population of more than 370 million, mainly follows the course of the Yangtze River, a precious source of water drinkable.

Some parts of Tibet are among the areas of drought qualified as severe or exceptional by the national meteorology.

In Sichuan (southwest), where a locality had reached 44 ° C on Wednesday, heavy rains however cooled the atmosphere of part of this mountainous region.

For safety, nearly 30,000 people had to be evacuated, public television CCTV reported on Thursday.

Last week, flash floods hit the northwest of the China and killed 26 people.

At the other end of the country on Thursday, Cyclone Ma-on was sweeping across southern China.

This heat wave presents a challenge for the x27;agriculture, in a country which in normal times already has a shortage of arable land.

Drought is particularly problematic for rice and soybean crops, which are very water-intensive.

In this context, the government decided on Wednesday to release a special envelope of 10 billion yuan (nearly 1.88 billion Canadian dollars) to support farmers in the face of drought, according to CCTV.

A farmer observes his crops dried up due to the lack of rain.

This sum will mainly be allocated to ensuring the harvests of rice in the fall.

Chongqing authorities have pledged to take emergency measures to protect pig farms, while on the Internet, the video of a Sichuan farmer, crying after the death of her chickens due to the heat wave and power cuts, has gone viral.

The drying up of streams that feed the hyd dams rauliques also forces the authorities to locally ration electricity, particularly in Sichuan, where the 84 million inhabitants depend 80% on this energy source.

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