Severe drought disrupts lives of 6 million in Yunnan

Severe drought has lingered in southwest China’s Yunnan Province for three consecutive years, disrupting the lives of 6.3 million people at present, local authorities said Tuesday.

Direct economic losses reached 2.3 billion yuan (372 million U.S. dollars), according to a statement released by the provincial civil affairs department.

More than 651,000 hectares of crops were damaged or destroyed by drought in the province, the statement said.

Among those affected, more than 2 million people are short of drinking water. About 18,000 firefighters and 5,000 vehicles have been mobilized to deliver water to these residents, said Yunnan’s fire department.

As a major province producing herbal materails for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the prices of TCM from Yunnan are on the rise as the harsh conditions prevent farmers from meeting demand.

Prices of more than 80 percent of TCM categories on the market, up to 200 in number, have jumped 30 percent annually since 2010, according to figures from the provincial TCM chamber of commerce released on Saturday.

Xinhua