The Heat Is Online

Chinese Drought Hits Wheat Areas

The Boston Globe March 31, 1999

BEIJING - China's worst drought since the 1980s has left 19 million people short of drinking water and affected 21 1/2 million acres of farmland, state-run media said yesterday. Parts of China have had ''scant rainfall'' since September, the Xinhua News Agency quoted Zhao Guangfa, an official from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, as saying. Rainfall at or near record lows has depleted reservoirs and could hurt summer crops in Sichuan province in the west, Guangxi in the south, Gansu in the northwest and Guangdong in the southeast, state media said. Hardest-hit so far is the northeast, where Shandong and Henan provinces produce about half of China's winter wheat. (AP)

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This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 03/31/99.
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Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

DROUGHT HITS N. CHINA WINTER WHEAT-GROWING REGION 

Jan. 15, 1999

BEIJING -- (Reuters) -- Low rainfall and high temperatures have worsened drought in northern China's wheat growing region in early January, diminishing the crop's ability to survive the winter, the State Meteorological Bureau said on Thursday.

Precipitation in most parts of China was more than 70 percent lower than the average for the same period in past years, the bureau said in its thrice-monthly weather report.

There was no rainfall for more than 40 days in most parts of winter wheat-growing regions in northern China, the Xinhua news agency said.

Most parts of the northern provinces of Shanxi, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and parts of the eastern province of Shandong suffered moderate to serious drought, Xinhua said.

Temperatures in northern China's winter wheat-growing regions have been higher than normal for more than one month, it said.

Temperatures across China's northern regions were 2-3 degrees C higher than the average of the same period in past years, the bureau said in its weather report.

Soil moisture in most parts of northern and northwestern China has dropped further due to less rainfall and high temperatures early this month, it said.

Unseasonably warm and dry weather has heightened the risk of frost to the wheat and rape crops if cold temperatures returned, it said.

Parts of the southern provinces of Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan and Yunnan also suffered droughts, it said. Output of sugarcane in China's southwestern province of Guangxi was expected to fall by 2.0 million tonnes in 1998/99 crushing season due to drought, state media have said.

(C) Reuters Limited