China province faces worst drought in a century

BEIJING Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:47am IST

BEIJING Jan 24 (Reuters) - China's eastern province of Shandong is facing its worst drought in a century, with nearly a quarter of a million residents facing drinking water shortages, while more snow is expected in the south, state media said on Monday.

In the Shandong cities of Linyi, Rizhao and Weifang, the dry spell has lowered reservoirs so dramatically that authorities are using fire trucks to deliver daily drinking water supplies to residents, the China Daily reported.

Shandong's provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters has warned that the number of people affected could rise to 300,000 from more than 240,000 at present unless the region receives some rainfall soon.

Premier Wen Jiabao toured the central drought-hit region of Henan at the weekend and pledged that the government would build more facilities to conserve water this year, the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily said.

Parts of northern, central and eastern China have been gripped by drought for more than three months, with deterioriated conditions in in major winter wheat regions.

Drought has affected winter wheat crops in 17 percent of growing areas in the northern bread basket and dry weather is forecast to extend until spring, the government said last month.

Parts of southern China have been hit by freezing rain and heavy snow, affecting crops and disrupting traffic. A fresh cold snap with freezing rain and snow is likely to hit southwestern China in the middle of this week, the People's Daily said.

The extreme weather coincides with a government campaign to fight rising food costs -- the main driver of Chinese inflation -- which have picked up again in recent weeks.

Beijing looks likely to break a 60-year record for the latest date for its first snowfall of the season, with little prospect of a snowfall next week, the People's Daily said. (Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee, Editing by Ben Blanchard, Ken Wills and Ron Popeski)

Reforms Push

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

To Boost Growth

To Boost Growth

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.   Full Article 

Bold Steps

Bold Steps

SpiceJet rescue plan marks bold bet on Indian aviation recovery.   Full Article 

New Airline

New Airline

Tata, Singapore Air venture Vistara to take off on Jan 9.  Full Article 

Online Sales

Online Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author.  Full Article 

26/11 Plotter

26/11 Plotter

Pakistan to challenge bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Chinese Economy

Chinese Economy

China revises up size of 2013 economy, sees no effect on 2014 growth.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage