China Drought Causing Widespread Famine
NEWS 10/06/2039 5:38 AM ET
China Drought Causing Widespread Famine
by Sascha Keys

CC0 1.0 Untitled by Felix_Broennimann | Writer image: CC0 1.0 Untitled by fsHH | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only. Image changes released under the same license as the original.
Drought has devastated broadscale crops all over northern China.
Chinese government officials have revised crop estimates to next October, with drought affecting agricultural output for the second straight year.

The Ministry of Agriculture today announced via a statement that production is expected to drop 5 - 7%, on top of last year's 6% decline as a result of severe drought conditions.

China's northern provinces have been hardest hit by the drought, which has decimated maize, wheat, and sorghum yields.

Scientists confirm that a mean increase in ground temperature of 1.5° over the past 20 years has contributed to failing crops. Although it was believed that warmer winters would produce greater yields of winter wheat, the prolonged drought has curtailed such expectations.

Local poultry and pig farms, unable to adequately water their livestock, have seen hundreds of thousands of animals die from malnutrition or dehydration. Chinese state-run media also reports thousands of northern farms are culling animals early, reducing both yields and profits. It is believed 5 - 10% of farms may fold in the next 6 months if conditions do not improve.

Conditions in China's northern coastal cities continue to worsen as the drought reduces already slim regional freshwater reserves. City governments have restricted water usage, prompting discontent from a public already suffering from a food shortfall.

Many northern cities have experienced rioting over the past month due to perceived government inaction.

The city of Baoding has seen widepsread protests over the past two weeks, leading to government forces being deployed last week for peacekeeping. Dozens were reported killed and hundreds injured on Sunday when troops opened fire on protesting residents who refused to disperse.

Rural towns and villages continue to be hit even harder by the lack of rain, with widespread famine reported in Shanxi, Hebei, and Liaoning provinces.

Locals are reporting a lack of government action on food shortages, which have seen residents reduced to killing their horses and housepets. Some have taken to eating grass or the bark from trees. Aid agencies believe an epidemic of child malnutrition is gripping the agrarian centers, and that the government is underreporting the true scope of the crisis.

China has been experiencing weather consistent with early summer, including temperatures almost ten degrees above average. Beijing's ten-year average of 525mm of precipitation annually has dropped to 814mm over the past two years.

Scientists continue to blame anthropogenic climate change and predict more unusual weather patterns in the years ahead.
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