The Heat Is Online

Tibetan Drought Worst in 30 Years

Drought in Tibet worst in 30 years


Xinhua (Chinese) News Agency, June 20, 2009

LHASA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Tibet Saturday said the drought is worsening as parts of the southwest China's autonomous region see the worst drought in 30 years.

The prolonged drought has hit 33 counties in five of the six prefectures in Tibet, the regional drought relief and flood control headquarters said Saturday. The acreage is 15.3 percent of Tibet's total.

Among them, 26,500 hectares were damaged and 793 hectares destroyed. The drought has also killed 13,601 head of cattle.


Nine meteorological centers in Tibet have not seen substantial rain for 226 consecutive days, Zhao Yiping, head of the Tibet Regional Meteorological Bureau, said Saturday.


The drought has also been worsened by higher than normal temperatures. Tibet has experienced temperatures 0.4 to 2.3 celsius degrees higher than normal years, Zhao said.


He forecast that there would be rain in Lhasa and Xigaze from June 22 to 25. The bureau is prepared to add artificial rain for drought relief, he added.


Some farmers will get compensation from insurance companies as they are covered by pilot policy insurance, said Sun Guoxin, general manager of the People's Insurance Company (Group) of China's Tibet branch.


Sun added that the insurer will offer more than 30 million yuan (4.4 million U.S. dollars) in compensation for the policyholders.

Tibet drought worst in 30 years, says Chinese state media

Agence France-Presse, June 20, 2009

BEIJING, June 20, 2009 (AFP) - A drought in Tibet has intensified into the regions worst in three decades, leaving thousands of hectares parched and killing more than 13,000 head of cattle, Chinas state media said Saturday.

The report by Xinhua news agency follows a warning by Chinas top weather official last month that the Himalayan region faced a growing threat of drought and floods as global warming melts its glaciers.

Drought conditions have hit five of Tibets six prefectures since last year, affecting 15.3 percent of the remote plateau, Xinhua said, quoting the regional drought relief and flood control headquarters.

It also said 13,601 head of cattle had died, but did not say over what time frame the deaths occurred.

Some weather stations had not received significant rainfall in 226 days, the report said.

The drought has also been worsened by higher than normal temperatures.

Tibet has experienced temperatures 0.4 to 2.3 degrees Celsius (0.7 to 4.1 Fahrenheit) higher than normal years, it said, quoting a top Tibetan weather official.

The head of the China Meteorological Bureau, Zheng Guogang, last month was quoted by Xinhua as warning that global warming was accelerating glacial shrinkage, causing Tibets lakes to swell.

If the warming continues, millions of people in western China will face floods in the short term and drought in the long run.

Experts have repeatedly warned of catastrophic consequences downstream if global warming continues to melt the snows and glaciers of mountainous Tibet, source of many of Asias mightiest rivers.