Saturday, June 28, 2014, 15:56
Xinjiang's Ili valley suffers worst drought in decades
By Xinhua

URUMQI - Drought has brought near disaster to the Ili River valley in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

According to Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, drought since Spring, the worst in 19 years, has damaged 1.92 million mu (about 128,000 hectares) of crops and led to losses of 700 million yuan (about 112 million US dollars).

"Now is a key moment for crop growth, but the yield of wheat, corn and oilseed rape is expected to fall by over 40 percent," an Ili spokesman said.

The drought has brought other misfortunes. Grasshoppers and mice are destroying crops and grassland.

The regional meteorological department said precipitation in the Ili valley in May and June was at a 19-year low of 38.1 millimeters, 56 percent less than last year. The temperature is also higher.

The local people lack adequate drinking water. To help them, the government has dredged rivers, pumped water or transported water from other regions.