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Kunming, Beijing mobilize funds to fight drought

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This year's spring drought has left more than 140,000 Kunming residents with little access to drinking water, according to municipal water department officials. In response to the water shortage, the central and municipal governments have allocated three million yuan (US$438,500) in emergency funds to assist those affected.

Kunming water officials announced yesterday that 142,648 people and 53,391 head of livestock were suffering from the water shortage. The areas suffering the most include the rural counties of Dongchuan (东川), Luquan (禄劝), Songming (嵩明), Xundian (寻甸), Yiliang (宜良) and Fumin (富民).

Of the emergency funds, 2.3 million yuan will come from municipal funds, with the remaining 700,000 yuan coming from a massive central government fund for fighting the drought.

According to analysis by Kunming's meteorology bureau, only 15 millimeters of rain fell in the city in January – a mere fraction of normal rainfall for the month.

February was even worse, with the lowest rainfall since 1959. Recent arid conditions combined with strong winds have also led to higher evaporation rates, leading to the warmest first two months of the year that Kunming has ever recorded.

Meteorology bureau officials added that although the rains of the 5th and 6th of this month were welcome, they have had no obvious positive effects on the drought-affected counties.

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