While China's urban areas are fighting a worsening economy, its rural areas are battling, for a third year, severe weather conditions that will affect the entire economy and possibly food prices, as it did in 2007-2008.
According to an April 28 summary report from the China Meteorological Bureau, in April, southern China had floods. Northern China was not only hit by sand storms but also suffered severe drought conditions, and the situation is still developing.
Starting in mid-April, eastern and central China had the heaviest precipitation of the year. Many areas suffered from flooding and landslides.
According to data released at the end of April, in Guangdong Province alone, flood damage caused direct financial losses of 24 million yuan (approximately US$3.51 million). Over 1,560 hectares (about 3,855 acres) of farmland was flooded, leaving it nonproductive for the foreseeable furture.
Jiangxi province, located on the south side of the Yangtze River, suffered economic losses exceeding 65 million yuan (approximately US$ 9.5 million), and 19,900 hectares (about 49,174 acres) of farmland was flooded.
The drought in northern China is the most severe in the past 60 years. Currently, it has affected 15 provinces and their cities, accounting for 96 percent of the nation's winter wheat producing region.
In the northern province of Shanxi, 56.6 percent of the region's wheat production suffers from drought, and 33 percent suffers from a severe drought.
In northwest China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region, sand storms struck during the pollination season, especially hitting hard this large cotton-producing region. Fruit trees suffered damage, and the sand covered the grazing ranges, causing the loss of cattle and other grazing animals.
Sand storms also hit other parts of China, including Gansu and Inner Mongolia.
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