Having received just 9 millimeters of rain in the past three months and with no precipitation forecast for the near future, Shandong officials reported that the province is enduring the worst drought in 50 years.
Some 240,000 people in the eastern province are currently short of drinking water, with 338 small reservoirs dry and about 1.84 million hectares of cropland affected. Nearly 15% of the area's vital wheat crops are already damaged. In the worst-hit city of Linyi, which has not seen such dry conditions for more than 125 years, only 5.8 millimeters of rain has fallen since September, 94% less than last year's average.
To alleviate the situation, the regional government is tapping underground water supplies and is also transporting water to severely drought-hit areas. This year has seen extreme dry conditions plague six provinces in China's southwest and east, with average rainfall for another northern province, Shanxi, currently down 89%.
Our thankfulness, Shandong provincial officials, for your efforts to bring relief to those affected. We pray that all humans act swiftly in the sustainable ways needed to restore harmony with nature on our planet.
Highlighting this increasingly dire situation, Supreme Master Ching Hai during an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand emphasized the urgent need for measures that would ensure the preservation of precious resources on Earth.