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Hubei drought may lead to a year of water shortages

05-30-2011 13:45 BJT Special Report:Severe Drought Hits South China |

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Central China's Hubei Province is one of the areas worst hit by the drought, as many paddy fields remain thirsty for water. CCTV reporter, Shen Le, has travelled to one village to find out how the dry spell there has affected this year's rice harvest.

This is the biggest water reserve in Loukou village. It hasn't rained for more than 3 months and there's very little water left.

Shen said, “Usually it’s the season to fight floods, local villagers would ride on these boats to reinforce dams along the way. However, the drought has reduced water levels significantly, and as you can see, all the boats are stranded.”

61-year-old farmer Fang Shunxiao is heading to his fields to check the crops.

When we arrive, we see a motorized plough sitting in a sea of weeds. At this time of the year, the fields should be submerged to grow rice. But now, they're completely empty.

Central China's Hubei Province is one of the areas worst hit by the drought, as many paddy fields remain thirsty for water.

Uprooting some seedlings, Fang says he has missed the narrow window for planting.

Fang said, “The seedlings need to grow partially submerged. But due to the lack of water, they have taken root in much drier soil. If you transplant them, the roots will be destroyed and the crop will die. There’s nothing we can do now. There’s no water left, nothing. We've lost everything.”

Plowing a small patch of paddy field, Fang Shunxiao’s wife, 62-year-old Li Liange refuses to give up just yet. Although the field is too small to make a difference, she is determined to make the most of it.

Li said, “I channeled a small puddle of water to this field. It needs to be plowed before we can transplant some rice crops. As long as there’s water, no matter how little, we need to do something.”

Central China's Hubei Province is one of the areas worst hit by the drought, as many paddy fields remain thirsty for water.

Many of Li Liange’s neighbors also share her determination. They are racing against the drought to transplant as many seedlings as possible before the remaining fields dry up. But even these fields are at the mercy of the dry spell.

At Fang Shunxiao’s home, we sit together for a chat. The farmer told me his two children are out working to make up for the losses. Their dog is their only company.

Usually at this time of the year, Fang should be sweating in the fields. Now the sudden break makes him uncomfortable, having nothing else to do but to gaze at the sky and twiddle his thumbs. In a nearby field, some farmers are still working. But with no signs of any precipitation, the prospect of the harvest looks bleak.


Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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