China flags risk of draught, forest-fires in November

Beijing, Nov 2 (EFE).- Chinese ministry of emergency management has warned of the risk of draughts and forest fires this month, party due to the country’s central region witnessing higher than usual temperatures.

A major draught had begun this summer in the middle and lower parts of the Yangtze river basin, the largest in China and second largest in the world.

The ministry said in a statement issued late on Tuesday that the draught is set to continue throughout November, according to state-owned daily Global Times.

Rains in the Yangtze river basin, situated in the central-southern part of the country, recorded a 50 percent deficit year-on-year this summer, with the figure climbing up to 80 percent in some areas during certain dates in September.

This led to the flow in the main river channel dropping to far below its usual levels.

Even though the situation improved in October, rains in the middle and lower reaches continued to be 20-50 percent below the average.

“There is a high possibility of continued droughts in the summer, autumn and winter,” the ministry officials said.

In the eastern and central provinces and regions, such as Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei and Chongqing, temperatures are set to be higher than usual in November.

Along with the risk of draught, local authorities would also have to deal with the risk of forest fires and other disasters “which could have a negative impact on agricultural production” according to the ministry

During the summer, the draught’s effects were visible when people in Chongqing crossed the Jialing river – normally a massive channel of water – on motorcycles as the flow dried up, while 600-year-old Buddhist sculptures were discovered in the city, after having been buried underwater for centuries.

The high temperatures also resulted in provinces dependent on hydroelectric power, such as Sichuan, restricting the use of electricity in some industries.

Chinese meteorologist Chen Lijuan explained that periods of intense heat, which are starting increasingly earlier and ending later, could become the “new normal” in the country due to the effect of climate change. EFE


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