Oxfam provides water in China's worst drought in decades: 10 Million people short of drinking water

from Oxfam
Published on 02 Mar 2010 View Original
A severe drought has hit China, including some of the most impoverished provinces: Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan, Shanxi, Henan and Shaanxi and the municipality of Chongqing. More than 10 million people face difficulties in accessing drinking water. Oxfam Hong Kong is already providing water in Yunnan Province and has also assessed the situation in the neighbouring provinces of Guizhou and Guangxi. The international poverty alleviation and humanitarian organisation has staff based in all three provinces.

The hardest hit province is Yunnan, where 5,969,000 people and 3,594,000 livestock face a shortage of drinking water; 3,310,000 people are in need of aid. The drought has been serious in Yunnan since autumn of 2009: 31.5 million mu of land (a Chinese acre) has been affected, with 6.2 million mu completely dried up. In all, the direct economic loss of agriculture has been estimated at more than 10 billion Yuan.

Oxfam is working alongside the Yunnan Province Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, and assessments have been completed in Wuding County. Oxfam is also working with the local government of Luquan County to plan the disaster response. Providing clean water for people and livestock is the agency's top priority, and work is also underway with the Runtu Mutual Help Working Group and the Yunnan Youth Foundation to provide water in Anning City (since 28 February) and Luquan County (since 1 March). Taking into account that the drought will mean either no spring harvest or a small one, as well as difficulties in the next planting season, Oxfam also plans to provide food aid in these communities.

In Guizhou, about 2,930,000 people and 1,250,000 livestock are without drinking water: it is the most serious drought here in 60 years. Areas hard hit include Bijie, Liupanshui and Anshun. Some 311,700 hectares of crops have been affected, with 170,700 dried up and 31,500 unproductive. Direct economic loss is estimated at 634,471,200 Yuan. Up to 970,000 people are in need of aid. Oxfam has completed initial assessments in Guizhou and will focus on food distribution. Drinking water is another need under review.

In Guangxi, Oxfam has reached initial consensus with governmental partners of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and has prepared a relief plan.