Wednesday, March 31, 2010

waiting for rain

Today's China news: it rained yesterday in Yunnan! China's southwest is suffering from the worst drought in sixty years and Yunnan, which is normally an extremely lush, verdant province, has been hit the hardest. There are some really insane photos here--definitely worth taking a look, as they're both beautiful and horrifying. Despite the government's best cloud seeding efforts, the rain wasn't enough to make a big impact, but more rain over the next few days will hopefully improve the situation a bit.

The drought is a big deal because of the human impact--24 million people lack sufficient drinking water--and also because of its negative impact on China's relationships with its Southeast Asian neighbors (who depend on water from rivers, like the Mekong, that originate in China and flow south). More on this here.

I'm also keeping a close eye on the drought situation for selfish reasons--I was hoping to do some research there in a month or so, but the drought may make that impossible. The rainy season is supposed to start in May, so things may be better by the time I leave Beijing (or so I hope). In the meantime, not much to do other than wait, keep watching the weather reports, and hope things get better in the southwest (and make friends with the librarians at the National Library).

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