China Suffers Severe Drought and Floods in July
China Suffers Severe Drought and Floods in July

Recent climate anomalies in China has caused ceaseless droughts in some areas and continuous floods in other places. Experts have pointed out that the global greenhouse effect and other human factors were the main reasons for the disasters.

Continuous droughts and high temperatures have been afflicting many areas including Hunan, Jiangxi, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Xinjiang, Fujian provinces and Shanghai City, with Jiangxi and Hunan being the hardest hit. The drought in the mid-eastern part of Inner Mongolia has lasted a long time, and the situation keeps worsening.

According to the latest official figures, this year 23 million acres of cultivated area suffered from the droughts, which is 2.7 million acres higher than average. The droughts affected 21.7 million acres of crops, among which 7.8 million acres are severely affected, and 1.4 million acres completely withered. The drought has also caused a fresh water shortage for 5.88 million people and 4.7 million cattle.

Since this summer, heavy rainfalls have caused floods in many parts of China, especially in Chongqing City as well as Sichuan, Guizhou, Xinjiang, Guangxi and Hubei provinces. So far the flood has killed nearly 700 people, affected 120 million, and caused US$7 billion economic losses.

Jiangxi is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years, with 1.06 million people facing a drinking water shortage, and 1.3 million acres of crops affected by the drought. The drought is still worsening, and is spreading quickly from the middle to the rest of the province.

According to latest figures, from April 1 to July 30 this year, the average rainfalls in Jiangxi is 594 mm, 32 percent below that in the same period of past years, and 20 percent blow that in the same period of 2003.

In Hunan Province the drought has continued for four weeks, which omens a dry autumn. Several million people are facing a drinking water crisis. Rainfall is down by 25 percent compared to previous years, leaving half of the two million water reservoir facilities empty.

According to the Hunan Meteorological Bureau's forecast, the temperate will reach up to 40° C (104° F) in most of August.

Since June, high temperatures and low rainfall have affected the northeast Heilongjiang and some other areas in the province. The provincial Sanjiang Plain area is afflicted by a summer drought, which has not occurred in that area for many years. Some areas experienced over 40 continuous rainless days. A lot of farmlands are covered with a 30-centimeter (11.8 inches) deep layer of dry soil.

In Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian Province, high temperature as lasted for 31 days by July 30, the longest period since the city's first official weather record was made in 1880. In many other parts of Fujian, hot weather has also lasted for 26 to 35 days.

In Zhejiang the continuous hot weather has lead to water shortages in many places and the situation is becoming more serious.

Recently Shanghai has suffered continuous hot days with temperature as high as 39° C (102° F) or even higher.

According to a meteorological department report, Shanghai's temperature peeked at 39.6° C (103° F) on July 29. The last time Shanghai had the same temperature was on July 25, 2003, and it broke a 63 years' record.

So far nearly 700 people have died as a result of the flood, lightning and mudslides across China. The flood has affected up to 120 million people with economic losses amounting to $7 billion.

Chongqing City recently was hit by the heaviest rainfalls in the century. Millions of people were affected and nearly 100 were killed or missing. The losses reached 2.978 billion yuan ($0.39 billion).

Guangxi Province was also hit by continuous torrential rainfalls, resulting in mountain torrents and river flooding which affected 8.3 million people and caused a direct economic loss of 9.84 million yuan ($1.3 million).

From July 27 to 31, heavy rains hit Sanmenxia City of Henan Province, the south part of Shanxi Province, middle southern parts of Shannxi Province. Serious rainstorms and landslides have occurred in many areas. According to preliminary statistics, 57 people were killed and 43 were missing as of August 10.

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