The autumn harvest accounts for three-quarters of China’s annual grain output. Officials said high temperatures and drought threaten this year’s fall harvest. The four most crucial authorities of the Chinese Communist Party jointly issued an urgent announcement of the “defensive battle to ensure a bountiful autumn harvest.” Mainland experts gave the warning that in the next few weeks, the middle and lower Yangtze river could experience continuous drought through to the fall, and urged everyone to “prepare for the worst case scenario.”

Majority of the food output is in danger

Now is a critical period for China’s fall grain production, and harvesting is less than two months away. On August 21, Tang Renjian, director of the Agricultural Office of the Central Committee, Party secretary and minister of agriculture and rural affairs, chaired a meeting and said that high temperatures and droughts have become the biggest threats to a bountiful fall grain harvest in the south.

On August 22, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of Emergency Management, and the China Meteorological Administration jointly issued an urgent notice, asking the relevant regions to do their jobs well: prevent, combat, mitigate natural disasters and try to win the battle against the heat and drought to ensure a good harvest.

On August 16, during a meeting to be filmed in Beijing on the three key agricultural projects of the third quarter, consisting of “agriculture, rural areas, and peasants,” Deputy Prime Minister of the China’s State Council  Hu Chunhua, emphasized that people must pay attention to the production of autumn grains. Fall grain production accounts for three-quarters of total grain production for the year, he said.

As of August 17, in less than a week, the arable land affected by drought in 6 provinces and cities has expanded from 9.67 million acres to 12.32 million acres.

Liu Zhiyu, deputy director of the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Hydrological Forecasting Center, said at a press conference on August 17 that some small- and medium-sized reservoirs in the Yangtze River basin are experiencing serious water shortages. At present, the water volume of reservoirs in Sichuan, Chongqing, and Anhui is 10% less than the same period last year. Seventy small and medium reservoirs are below dead water level and 110 are operating near dead water level.

According to statistics from China’s Ministry of Irrigation on August 21, 32.99 million acres of arable land in nine provinces and cities, 2.46 million people and 350,000 cattle have been affected by the drought.

On August 18, the latest statistics from the Chongqing Water Administration showed that as of August 16, 66 rivers had stopped flowing, 25 reservoirs were dry, and 2,138 boreholes were not filled.

Han, a citizen of Yuzhong District, Chongqing, told The Epoch Times on August 24 that the high temperatures are very serious. The Yangtze and the Jialing River are drained. It is estimated that within the next few weeks, the Yangtze will dry up. Farmland that has been long arid will be turned  into a desert.

Currently, the prices of cereals, vegetables, fruits, and non-local foods have increased. For example celery has increased to more than 20 yuan ($2.9) per 500 grams, Han said. Pork went even higher, more than 20 to 30 yuan ($2.9 to $4.4/500 grams). People could hardly survive.

Last week, the highest temperature in Beibei, Chongqing reached 45 C (113 F). Han said that temperature above 44 C (11.2 F) in Chongqing has never happened in history.

According to Han, local people with better financial conditions have all left Chongqing, looking for surrounding areas with higher positions to escape the summer heat. Without money, he could not leave. He just stayed at home and didn’t dare go out. The life of the people of Chongqing is very miserable.

He said he heard the high temperatures would continue for another week.

On August 20, the Leshan Dafo statue in Sichuan was completely exposed because the water in the Qingyi River and the Minjiang River was significantly reduced. On the same day, the Central Meteorological Observatory upgraded the weather drought warning to level orange.

A gentleman surname Wu from Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, told The Epoch Times on August 24 that it is so hot this year that people can die from it.

Mr. Wu said that the previous years also experienced high temperatures, but not as horrible as right now, and the duration this year is relatively long.

Mainland experts: Plan for the worst if there is drought until the fall

The latest China News Weekly report said that since July, the Yangtze river basin has experienced its worst drought since 1961, with a “rare dry season during the main flood season.”

Zhou Xiaohua, director of the Agricultural Technology Center of Duchang County’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau, said that after mid-August, some late-sowing mid-crop rice in the flowering period would wilt or would not flower. Due to the constant lack of water, some fields are dried and cracked. “Rice will die if there is a lack of water for 10 to 15 consecutive days. The drought this year is very severe, the temperature is continuously high. For rice that is growing and flowering, high temperature will affect the rate of flowering, resulting in output reduction.”

Hunan is also the province with the severely affected agriculture. Wang Jingchen, director of Hunan Province’s Agricultural Condition Research and Analysis Center, told China News Weekly that Hunan is in a mountainous region and can only rely on nature to survive. The province relies natural rainfall, because the cost of drought resistant measures is very high. Under nonstop heatwaves, mountain ponds and small reservoirs in some areas have almost dried up, basically not guaranteeing crop production.

Zheng Fei, a research fellow at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that according to analysis by the National Climate Center, there could be summer and fall droughts in the mid and lower areas of the Yangtze river. If the drought continues, reservoir management groups may also face challenges. Therefore, it is critical to prepare a strategy to “fight severe and prolonged drought.” A “worst case scenario” should be considered in the affected areas.

Overseas experts: Natural disasters are inseparable from the CCP’s man-made disasters

On August 24, Li Hengqing, an economist analyzing Chinese affairs living in the United States, told The Epoch Times that severe drought in Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, and other provinces and cities will certainly affect agricultural production this year, and fall grain output will certainly be reduced.

He believes that extreme weather in China is linked to man-made disasters. A good example is the hydropower development where many power stations and hydroelectric dams have been built on the Yarlung Zangbo River. The construction of the Three Gorges Dam also caused many problems. The CCP has been in power for more than 70 years and has caused so much suffering. The CCP’s policies in managing the country will eventually be taught a lesson by nature.

Economist Li Hengqing also pointed out that China’s carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are the largest in the world, and China’s pollution problem is very serious. Many pollutants in the air absorb heat of the sun causing the temperature to continue to rise. These are man-made disasters. The current natural disasters are related to the CCP’s endless destruction of nature, destroying human habitats over the past few decades.

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