A joint statement from many Chinese ministries and agencies stated on Tuesday that the country’s prolonged heatwave, which is the nation’s longest, most intense, and covering the widest landmass since 1961, has presented a “serious threat” to the autumn grain production and that the situation is dire.
About 75% of China’s yearly grain production occurs in the autumn, and up until the drought slowly began to set in starting in July, China had intended to produce more than 650 billion kg this year. Given the seriousness of the circumstance, that seems doubtful.
“Since late July, high temperatures without rainfall persists in many parts of the south for the longest duration, the widest range of influence and the largest average intensity (of temperature) since 1961. The drought, advanced rapidly, along with high temperature and heat damage, pose a serious threat to autumn grain production and on the work on agricultural drought-resistance and disaster- reduction,” the statement jointly issued among others by the agriculture and rural welfare ministry and the water resources ministry said.
In order to maintain national food security and the autumn grain harvest, the notice stated that all departments must “share the political duty of securing national food security.” China has been experiencing a severe drought for several weeks.
Tuesday was the 12th day in a row that China’s National Meteorological Center has continued to issue red alerts for high temperatures, the most serious warning in China’s four-tier color-coded weather warning system.
According to the water resources ministry, the drought has harmed approximately 821,000 hectares of farmland since July in a number of provinces, including Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Anhui.
The Sichuan province in southwest China and the neighbouring Chongqing municipality have been particularly hard struck by the prolonged dry spell and high temperatures.
“In order to overcome dilemmas such as power shortages and wilting crops, Chongqing turned off lights of its iconic scenic area, residents kept their hands off unnecessary electronic appliances, and the government ramped up efforts to irrigate crops,” Even while the municipality keeps battling bushfires in steep areas, the state-run Global Times said on Tuesday.
“While the heatwave pushed up air-conditioning demand, power supply in Sichuan has been dragged down by a drought as the region relies on hydropower for around 80% of its electricity. Local officials say water flows have dropped to half their normal level since the start of August,” the news website, Caixin reported.
In the meantime, according to Global Times, aerial pictures and satellite images released by Chinese state-run media have revealed “tree-shape landscapes in certain sections of Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, in Nanchang, east China’s Jiangxi province, demonstrating another alarming sign of the most severe drought China faces in six decades.”
“The water area of Poyang Lake measured approximately 11.13 square kilometres and has decreased by nearly 66% compared to the area of previous month,” the National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) reported.