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Media Look At Regional Effect Of China’s Drought

In light of the “first-ever summit of Mekong nations,” where participating countries hailed “China’s move to share data on reservoir levels,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek examines the “severe drought” affecting more than 60 million people in countries along Asia’s Mekong river. “The drought has raised scrutiny about management of the river as governments aim to harness its potential to provide food and generate electricity. …China’s capacity to improve water flows is ‘limited’ as the river’s low levels are mainly due to a shortage of rainfall, said Jeremy Bird, chief executive officer of the commission, a regional body that advises governments on managing the basin. Increased flows from China’s dams in January did help alleviate the severity of the water shortage, he said” (Kate, 4/5).

In related news, the New York Times examines the drought in China’s Yunnan Province. “This drought is southern China’s worst, climatologists say, in 80 to 100 years. From Yunnan eastward through Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces and the Guangxi region, the soil on roughly 30,000 square miles of farmland is too dry to plant crops, the vice minister of water resources, Liu Ning, said last Wednesday. Around 24 million people are short of water. Agricultural losses already total $3.5 billion” (Wines, 4/4).