Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Worst Drought in 50 years

A worst drought in 50 years, affecting more than 12 provinces and more than 9.3m hectares, in northern China has hit 43% of the country's wheat crop. The Office of State Control and Drought Relief Headquarters warned that 3.7 million people and 1.85 million livestock had lost access to drinking water. In Feb 7, Premier Wen Jiabo visited a village in Henan and urged local officials to place “top priority’ on relief work. Soon after Wen's visit, it started raining in the area… is that miracle? well, it is chemical cloud seeding.

The youtube video below showed the drought situation in Shandong province:

Due to the impact of financial crisis, a large number of migrant workers has returned home to rural area, the drought will make their lives even worse and affect the central government's policy in developing the internal market to deal with the crisis. badanjilin, a blogger with rural background is very worried about the negative impact of the drought:

虽然各地都在想方设法抗旱,然效果不甚理想,如果老天不给降水的话,夏收就会严重减产,加上金融危机,可想未来农民的日子咋过?这些年,基本上是风调雨顺,农民在粮食自给自足的前提下,外出打工,挣点钱来改善生活,一旦再不下雨,农民的生活将是雪上加霜。我是一个农民的儿子,而且自己也曾经务农两年,深知农民的疾苦,在所有行业里,农民是最苦的。三农(农业、农村、农民)是中国面临的最大问题,正因为这样,国家在每年初都出台一个以农民为中心的一号文件,惠及农民百姓。即便这样,对农民来说,还是有相当人口在贫困线下生活。

Although local government tried very hard to fight against the drought, if the weather continues like this, it will affect the summer harvest. With the financial crisis, we can imagine how hard the life of rural peasants will become. In the past years, the weather has been good, and the peasants can be self-sufficient in food supply. Extra labors can earn cash income to improve life. Now that the rain stops, their lives will be much harder. I am the son of a farmer, and I have 2 year farmer experience. I know how hard a farmer life is. Among all the occupation, farmer is the hardest. The three rural problem (agriculture, village and peasant) is also the biggest problem in China. That's why every year, the nation releases a document to give more benefit to peasants. However, there is still a certain number of rural population living under the poverty line.

Irrigation system and suggestion on rural collective

Pinklady from Tianya forum, among a number of voices, pointed out that the country had spent too little to develop a more effective irrigation system in good time. The blogger believes that the ultimate solution is the drip irrigation systems:

为什么,改革开放三十年了,我国华北地区的滴灌系统还没有建立起来?滴灌系统这玩艺儿也不复杂,不就是水泵加PVC管子吗?政府贴一点,农民掏一点,自个儿埋上不就得了。我们现在生产水泵加PVC管子不是小菜一碟吗?

  

Why, after 30 years of economic reform, we still haven't developed our drip irrigation system? It is not complicated at all, all we need is pumps and pvc pipes. The government only need to give some financial support and build the system. The manufacture of pumps and pipes is a piece of cake.

  

我来告诉你们,为什么我们在华北、西北地区大规模推广滴灌系统都失败了。关键的问题是,滴灌系统,他再小也得是个系统,一家一户,一亩三分地的搞没法搞。问题就在于包产到户,回到小农经济了就没法搞。和修库、修渠是一样道理,你不去组织农民,就没人去搞,单个人搞,水管都被人扒了去卖钱。还有,就是中国农村的宅基地和坟地把早把农田搞得的一团糟。你去看看以色列的集体农庄,乌有上有介绍,必须是大农庄,集体农庄才能搞这玩意儿。所以这个问题不是经济问题(不差钱),也不是技术问题(早解决了),是中国农村的体制问题。

  

Let me tell you, why we failed to promote the system in northern province. The key problem is that drip irrigation is a system, it cannot be done within a family in a small piece of land. Which means with our present policy of household production and small peasant economy, we cannot get it done. Similar to the construction of resvoirs and canals, we need to organize the farmers or else no one will build the system. Moreover, the scattered houses and tombs have messed up the land. In the collective farm of Israel, the drip irrigation system can only be built in big collective farm. So it is not a economic problem, and not a technical problem, but a problem of rural system.


Environmental crisis rather than developmental crisis

However, Wind on water, pointed out that money and development cannot solve the water shortage problem. Water is best stored underground.

在一路高歌的“小农经济”和“市场体制”行进中,有谁想到水资源的危机已经严重威胁我们的生存环境呢?官员们会讲,我们有钱,我们给农民“水源补贴”!以为“钱是万能”的?没准还加快水资源枯竭进程呢?!金钱主义正在毁灭人类的生存环境……

We have been singing the song of “small peasant economy” and “market economy” without realizing that the water crisis has already threaten our survival. The government officials continue to say that we have money, we can give peasant money as water subsidy. They still that money can solve the problem. However, money can make thing worse, and increase the speed in exhausting our natural water reserve. Monetarism is destroying human's survival.

Another omen?

Last year during the spring festival, the southern part of China was hit by a serious snowstorm, followed by an earthquake; this year, it is the drought. People are worried that there are more disasters to follow. A post has been circulating in the internet saying that the drought may be a sign for another series of earthquakes. Littlepjy has copied the post in her blog.

2 comments

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site