About 3.6 million people are having difficulty getting access to
drinking water as a rare drought has plagued most parts of
Southwest China's Yunnan
Province at this rice-planting season.
According to the local meteorological department, the dry
weather has continued for two months, hitting everything from
drinking water supplies to livestock husbandry, from tobacco
growing to flower markets.
Some areas are also reeling from power shortages as a result of
the low level of water at local hydropower stations.
"The power outage is very frequent and has an effect everywhere
recently," said Zhao Hongmei, an elementary school teacher in Dali,
an ancient city mainly populated by the Bai ethnic group.
"The temperature is higher than usual, and people's lives are
affected. We have to use candles for illumination at night."
But she said her school is still operating, though some courses,
such as computer lessons, have been cancelled because of the lack
In Luxi - an ethnic habitation 178 kilometers southwest of
Kunming, the provincial capital, and an area being hit hardest - a
meteorological bureau official said that tobacco seedlings are
But in Kunming, citizens haven't noticed much difference. "We
are not short of water supplies," Yunnan University graduate
student Li Chengjun said. "We do have power outages occasionally,
but that's normal."
The provincial government has allocated 40 million yuan (US$4.8
million) to alleviate the drought and has decided to purchase
electricity from neighboring provinces.
Yunnan Province, usually rich in hydropower, transmits much of
its power every year to such coastal areas as Guangdong Province to
support development there.
As a result, some of its areas suffer power outages from time to
According to weather forecasts, desert-like conditions are going
to linger in Yunnan for a while.
(China Daily May 28, 2005)