The state-run media reported today that the Finance Ministry had allocated nearly 87 billion yuan, or close to $13 billion, for drought relief, most of which would fund direct aid grants to farmers. The rest will go to help bail out grain producers.
Xu Yinlong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the government’s decision to declare its highest-level emergency was unprecedented, something that did not occur during the country’s last major drought 30 years ago.
“This drought is occurring in front of the big backdrop of global warming and is part of the phenomenon of extreme weather events,” Xu said. “The direct cause is months of lack of rainfall, but it definitely is connected with climate change.”
The drought has severely cut the availability of drinking water in some northern parts of China. Reuters reports:
Millions of people and cattle in north China face shortages of drinking water because of a severe drought, the government said on Saturday, promising to speed up disbursement of billions of dollars of subsidies to farmers.
State television quoted disaster relief officials as saying 4.4 million people and 2.1 million cattle lacked adequate drinking water. Official media have described the drought as north China’s worst in half a century.
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