Lack of rain results in poverty for many

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-22 09:20
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BEIJING - The worst drought in six decades in Southwest China has plunged more than 2 million people back into poverty, the country's poverty alleviation body has said.

The drought, which lasted for six months, has led to a direct economic loss of more than 35 billion yuan, according to the latest statistics from the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA).

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The latest figure came as a sharp increase from the previously announced economic loss of 23.7 billion yuan by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on March 24, as the adverse impact of the dry spell continues to spread among the affected regions.

A severe drought has swept the southwestern region, including Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Chongqing municipality, since September last year, causing drinking water shortages, crop damage and economic losses.

Although the drought has eased in most parts of the Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Guangxi since late April, it is still severe in Yunnan as the province has only received limited and scattered rainfalls.

To alleviate the drought and help the locals cope with the adversity, both the government and charity organizations have poured millions of yuan into the affected areas.

On Thursday, Cao Dewang, entrepreneur and chairman of the Fuyao Glass Group in Fujian province, and his son, Cao Hui, donated 200 million yuan to people in Southwest China struggling with the drought, adding to a flood of donations from many individuals and companies.

An estimated 100,000 poverty-stricken households in the region are expected to benefit from the relief funds through water and food provisions, which will be managed by the CFPA.

Yunnan's provincial meteorological bureau said that relief from the drought will come soon as the region will probably get continuous rainfalls starting Saturday. But it warned against potential landslides because some of the ground is completely dry and therefore not cohesive.