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Recent rain does little to alleviate drought in SW China — CMA

BEIJING, March 31 — Rainfall last week did little to alleviate the drought in southwest China, an official of the China Meteorological Administration said Wednesday.

"Compared with the water lost in the long drought that started last September in southwest China, recent rains provide little water," said Zheng Jiangping, vice director of the Department of Emergency Response, Disaster Mitigation and Public Services under the administration.

Citing Guizhou Province as an example, Zhang said since last September, average rainfall in the drought-hit province was only 167 mm, about 51.2 percent less than normal, while the temperature was about 1 degree Celsius higher.

Since the end of February, local governments in southwest China had spent 20 million yuan (US$ 2.9 million) on 1,863 artificial rain operations, and had fired about 17,316 shells and 5,035 rockets containing rain enhancement chemicals.

From March 22 to Tuesday, some parts in the southwest, including central Yunnan Province and northern Guizhou Province, saw rainfalls of around 10 to 30 mm.

"The rainfalls did not cover all the disaster-affected areas, and they could not even provide enough water for farming and drinking, although they lowered the risk of forest fire," he said.

Output of sugarcane and wheat in these areas would slump, he said, but he did not say how much the reduction in production would be. (PNA/Xinhua) vcs/utb

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