Severe Drought Grips Southwestern China

SHIYANZI, China, March 17 (UPI) — Southwestern China’s drought is so severe the government in some areas is rationing just enough water to keep people alive, officials said Wednesday.

The drought, the worst in memory, has left more than 20 million people short of drinking water in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.

“The horsebean and rape (crops) has withered in the field and we’re running out of grain in the house,” said Shiyanzi resident Li Shaorong, adding he uses “only a few drops of water every other day” to rinse his eyes.

The drought has devastated crops of fruit, tea, rubber, coffee, flowers and other crops key to the local economy.

The region has seen no rain in six months and some communities since January have been rationing just enough water to keep people alive, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

While China’s southwestern region is experiencing severe drought, the nation’s northern and central provinces have had excessive snow, a change some scientists attribute to climate change.

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