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Rain falls on Yunnan

[ 2010-03-29 11:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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Cloud seeding resulted in rain sweeping through Yunnan province over the weekend, though meteorologists said the light to moderate rainfall will have a limited effect on the worst drought in a century.

Cloud seeding above the drought-stricken province induced drizzles, moderate rain and downpours in 11 cities and prefectures, including Kunming, Chuxiong and Xishuangbanna between 8 am Saturday and 8 am Sunday, said Ma Lianxiang, chief weather forecaster of the provincial meteorological bureau.

More than 3,200 cannons and rockets loaded with cloud seeding chemicals were fired into the sky at 317 sites in 77 counties of 13 cities and prefectures, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

"It was the first rain I have seen since last October, but it only lasted for about three hours," said Bu Lupiao, a farmer in the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture.

"The rain may do some good for the growth of tea seeds, which should have sprouted two weeks ago," he said. The lingering drought has cut the production of his 70 mu (4.7 hectares) tea and rubber plantation by up to 60 percent.

Part of Xishuangbanna received up to 33 mm of precipitation.

However, in Chuxiong Yi autonomous prefecture, the area hit hardest by the drought, the 112 cloud-seeding cannons induced little rainfall on Saturday, frustrating local residents.

"As the rain has not produced a flow of surface and ground water, it will not increase the water supply in either wells or reservoirs and the drinking water shortage will continue in the province," Ma said.

The rainfall may, at least, help to reduce the risks of fire posed by the dry conditions in the forests and to increase the soil moisture on farms, he said.

The drought has ravaged southwestern China since last fall, affecting 61.3 million residents and 5 million hectares of crops in Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, and Guangxi, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said last week.

The drought has also caused direct economic losses of 23.7 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), the ministry said.

In Yunnan province, which has been the hardest hit by the drought, direct agricultural economic losses are estimated at 17 billion yuan, and 8.2 million residents have been left short of food. The lingering dry weather has further affected over 80 percent of all planting areas in Yunnan, a major region for the production of fresh flowers, rapeseed, sugar cane, tobacco and tea.

The latest weather forecast from the CMA said the drought-hit region may expect more rain over the next 10 days, bringing up to 30 mm of precipitation to Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.

Ma said more cloud seeding is planned this week.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Rain falls on Yunnan

About the broadcaster:

Rain falls on Yunnan

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.