China Daily reports that drought creates water and food shortages for 1.37 million in China.
(emphasis mine) [my comment]
Water, food shortages for 1.37m after drought
Updated: 2009-06-15 16:48
YINCHUAN -- Sustained drought over the past seven months has caused water and food shortages for more than 1.37 million people in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the local government said Monday.
The drought has hit 11 counties and districts in the central part of the Muslim-inhabited region, including Zhongning, Haiyuan and Yuanzhou, the regional civil affairs bureau said.
"These areas have reported no significant rain since November," said Liu Zhonglin, a bureau official in charge of disaster relief. "The drought affected spring and summer ploughing and killed even winter wheat."
Sustained drought has left more than 760,000 people thirsty and destroyed 317,500 hectares of crops, which has led to a food shortage for another 615,000 people, Liu said.
He said at least 870,000 people needed immediate relief, and the regional government had demanded governments at county and city levels should provide aid to the drought-hit areas.
In many counties, government officials and volunteers have been mobilized to carry drinking water for remote schools and households.
Most people in the arid areas of western China live on water kept in cellars, but sustained drought this year has dried up more than 100,000 cellars in central Ningxia.
In the worst-hit villages, 70 percent of the residents need to carry water from neighboring areas, some for 120 yuan (17 US dollars) per cubic meter, Liu said.
He warned the situation could worsen, as the regional weather bureau predicted little precipitation for central Ningxia in the coming two months.
In a related story, Reuters reports that one in nine Americans on food stamps.
One in nine Americans on food stamps, USDA says
Wed Jun 3, 2009 5:38pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - [Thanks to Cheap loans from the Chinese government] One in nine Americans are using federal food stamps to help buy groceries as the country's deep recession forced another 591,000 people onto the federal anti-hunger program at latest count.
Enrollment jumped 2 percent to 33.2 million people in March, the fourth consecutive month that rolls hit a record, said the Agriculture Department. The average monthly benefit was $113.87 per person.
"It's tough out there for struggling families and will be for many months to come," Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, said.
"It's very likely that the numbers will continue to grow in the coming months as a turnaround in unemployment and wage declines typically lags behind the recovery of the broader economy," he said.
In 20 states, as many as one in eight are on the food stamp program, according to the Food Research Center.
The U.S. economy has contracted sharply since last fall, with nearly 6 million jobs disappearing since the beginning of 2008. Further job losses are expected as the recession grinds on.
Congress allocated some $54 billion for food stamps this fiscal year [financed in great part by China], up sharply from $39 billion last year. In the new fiscal year beginning Oct 1, costs are estimated at $60 billion.
U.S. enrollment in recent months:
March - 33.157 million
February - 32.556 million
January - 32.205 million
December 2008 - 31.784 million
November 2008 - 31.097 million
October 2008 - 31.050 million
Sept 2008 - 31.587 million
My reaction: The media blackout of China's drought has ended. At the beginning of the year there were dozens of stories about the drought in northern China, but over the last 3 months there has been no news. I guess now that hundreds of thousands of people are starving, it is harder to keep out of the news.
1) Sustained drought over the past seven months has caused water and food shortages for more than 1.37 million people in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Region.
2) These areas have reported no significant rain since November, and the drought has devastated crops.
3) One in nine Americans are using federal food stamps to help buy groceries.
4) Congress has allocated $54 billion for food stamps this fiscal year.
Conclusion: These food shortages in China raise many interesting questions:
Why is China subsidizing America's food consumption when Chinese are starving?
Why doesn't China use its 2.5 trillion dollar reserves to end its domestic food shortages?
Is keeping Americans well fed more important than the lives of its own people?
The world is facing a catastrophic fall in global food production in 2009, and these Chinese food shortages are evidence of this. It is only a matter of time before China starts importing more grains, driving up world food prices.
As I reported back in January, Hunger trumps unemployment. Chinese authorities, when faced with the choice of millions of unemployed workers and millions of hungry workers, will choose to sacrifice exporters and the dollar peg.