China’s northern provinces are facing the worst drought since 1951, state media reported. Henan and Anhui provincial authorities both issued red drought alerts last week. Shanxi is on orange alert and Shaanxi, Shandong, Hebei, and Jiangsu’s agricultural sectors are all suffering from extraordinarily dry weather. Drought has affected 63% of Henan’s 5.26 million hectares of wheat. Shanxi forecasts that drought will affect more than 60% of crops north of the Huaihe River and said that nearly one million people and 160,000 heads of livestock are facing water shortages. According the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief, droughts in northern China have already affected 9.6 million hectares of crops and left 3.7 million people and 1.85 million livestock with insufficient drinking water. The Ministry of Finance has allocated US$14.6 million in emergency funding to drought relief. Weather may not be the only culprit, however. Duan Aiming, head of the Irrigation Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, said lack of investment in modern irrigation technology is partly to blame.
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