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It is southwest China’s Yunnan province, which has been suffering from severe drought for four years.
Some places haven’t seen precipitation in four months. The situation in Yilong lake, one of the major lakes in the region has caught our attention. This picture was taken in 2007, a beautiful advertisement for the place. But now, the land is bare and cracked open. Jie Bai has more details on how bad the drought is and how the locals are coping.
In what was used to be the center of the lake, wild grass now grows.
The water level used to reach here and we had to row a boat over the lake to our farmland. But now, it’s all dried up.
The water level has been dropping and is now three meters lower than four years ago, making it the driest season in three decades.
In Yuanmou County, locals say the last time it rained was four months ago. The crops are all dying.
“If it doesn’t rain, we’ll harvest nothing. Nothing will be left.”
The Red Cross has helped to build a well in the county. But with the dry spell, it was built for nothing.
In another well, at least some water can be seen. But it’s nearly been used up, too.
“Last year, the well was able to provide 12 buckets of water in one day. But we can only get eight buckets this year.”
Local residents there have to walk a long distance to fetch water this year. This has also been the practice among people in another village, just to get the little water they can use.
Li Wenying is one of them. She has to walk three kilometres to reach this thin river.
“I have to walk to the river four times to get enough water for one day. And I have to save as much water as possible.”
She along with her neighbours have to go up a slope on the way back home.
And half an hour later, “We’ll have to take a short break first. We’ve just completed a quarter of the journey.”
She and her neighbours have been doing this for three years. Villagers say the only river they have been relying on will dry up in April if the drought continues. But for now, this has been the only hope they can find.