Archive for ‘water’


World’s 15 hottest places are in India, Pakistan as pre-monsoon heat builds

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India warned of severe heat in northern and central areas on Monday, following similar extreme weather on Sunday.

Of the 15 hottest places in the world in the past 24 hours, eight were in India with the others in neighbouring Pakistan, according to weather monitoring website El Dorado.

Churu, a city in the west of the northern state of Rajasthan, recorded the country’s highest temperature of 48.9 Celsius (120 Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to the Meteorological Department.

Churu has issued a heat wave advisory and government hospitals have prepared emergency wards with extra air conditioners, coolers and medicines, said Ramratan Sonkariya, additional district magistrate for Churu.

Water is also being poured on the roads of Churu, known as the gateway to the Thar desert, to keep the temperature down and prevent them from melting, Sonkariya added.

A farmer from Sikar district in Rajasthan died on Sunday due to heatstroke, state government officials said.

Media reported on Friday that 17 had died over the past three weeks due to a heatwave in the southern state of Telangana. A state official said it would confirm the number of deaths only after the causes had been ascertained.

The temperature in New Delhi touched 44.6C (112.3F) on Sunday. One food delivery app, Zomato, asked its customers to greet delivery staff with a glass of cold water.

Heat wave warnings were issued on Monday for some places in western Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh state.

The monsoon, which brings down the heat, is likely to begin on the southern coast on June 6, the weather office said last month.

The three-month, pre-monsoon season, which ended on May 31, was the second driest in the last 65 years, India’s only private forecaster, Skymet, said, with a national average of 99 mm of rain against the normal average of 131.5 mm for the season.

Source: Reuters


Decade on from failed Chinese well-digging project, poor farmers wait for water

  • Poverty busting project in northern China was meant to increase cultivation of green vegetables
  • Instead, more than 100 inadequate wells have been abandoned
More than 100 wells dug by a local government in northern China have been abandoned and covered over because they failed to produce any water. Photo: Weibo
More than 100 wells dug by a local government in northern China have been abandoned and covered over because they failed to produce any water. Photo: Weibo
More than 100 wells dug by a local government in northern China have been abandoned and covered over because they failed to produce any water.
Built in 2000, the wells were part of a poverty alleviation programme in Xiuyan county, Liaoning province, looking to spur cultivation of green vegetables, CCTV’s Half-hour Economy programme reported on Thursday.
The problem was first exposed in 2015 by the same programme, and most of the wells have now been filled in to prevent people from tripping into or over them.
“This well does not have any water, it’s just for show. All of the ones here are like that,” Li Guoyi, a county resident told CCTV.
One of the abandoned wells dug as part of a poverty busting programme in China’s northern Liaoning province. Photo: Weibo
One of the abandoned wells dug as part of a poverty busting programme in China’s northern Liaoning province. Photo: Weibo

Li’s farmland is next to one of the abandoned wells. He said he cannot grow as many square metres of vegetables as he would like as they require more water.

Instead, he cultivates hardy crops that fetch lower prices, like potatoes and corn. He has had to buy a pump and transport water from a source 200 metres away for irrigation, according to the report.

“I still hope we can have working wells,” Li, 71, said. “If I can live for another 10 years and make 18,000 yuan (US$2,680) a year, I can reduce my children’s burden a lot.”

A villager who helped dig the wells said the project had failed to follow protocols that would have produced wells fit for irrigation.

Dong Ensheng, who also wrote a 2015 report into the failed project, said the wells were only required to be dug to a depth where water was visible. In addition, some of the wells had openings as small as 40cm in diameter – not even big enough to fit a water pump.

A 2015 report found some of the wells had openings too small to fit a water pump. Photo: Weibo
A 2015 report found some of the wells had openings too small to fit a water pump. Photo: Weibo

In his report Dong said the wells fell way below established standards. “At the very least, they should be able to sustain several hours of water pumping. The well we dug was pumped dry in minutes,” he wrote.

When confronted with the issue of the failed wells this year, county officials refused to take responsibility and declined to provide records of the 2015 investigation, launched in response to the previous exposé, according to CCTV.

“This happened more than 10 years ago. You want to follow up on this now, you won’t be able to find it,” Wei Tianhui, the deputy director of Xiuyan county’s economy bureau, was quoted as saying.

“The staff has changed a lot. The structure of the county government has changed a lot. Where do we start looking?”

The programme drew angry reactions from internet users on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, who criticised the local government.

“They just keep passing the ball, thinking it’s not my fault so why should I bear the responsibility?” a user from Shandong province, eastern China, wrote. “Are these the civil servants of the new era? These are the so-called civil servants in service of the people?”

Source: SCMP


China Focus: China to ramp up efforts to provide better elderly care

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) — As China is faced with a growing aging population, the government has pledged to provide better elderly care services and facilities for the silver-haired, and give a strong boost to domestic demand.

Elderly care remains high on the agenda in this year’s government work report, which said that significant steps would be taken to develop elderly care, especially community elderly care services.

The number of people in China aged 60 and above reached 250 million by the end of 2018, accounting for 17.9 percent of the country’s population.

“Growing demand will trigger greater market potential in China’s senior care industry,” said Tang Wenxiang, founder of Fullcheer Group, a major elderly care services provider based in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province.

Fullcheer Group has 50 branches in more than 10 provinces and cities with a total of 5,000 beds. Tang expects the number of his company’s beds to increase to 50,000 in five years.

“There is still a huge gap between the demand of China’s aging population and the number of elder care facilities,” Tang said.

The country will provide support to institutions offering services in the community like day care, rehabilitation care, and assisted meal services and outdoor fitness services using measures such as tax and fee cuts and exemptions, funding support, and lower charges for water, electricity, gas and heating, according to the government work report.

Tang said government’s measures to develop elderly care services greatly boosted the confidence of entrepreneurs who run businesses in the sector.

Developing the elderly care industry is good for improving people’s well-being and stimulating consumption, said Xu Hongcai, an economist with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

“Consumption on elderly care requires the supply of the elder care market, offered by both the government and the market,” he said.

A research report issued by Guolian Securities suggests that a string of policies have been carried out in China to encourage the participation of the social sector in the senior care industry, which will boost the country’s consumption in the health and medical sectors.

As China opens this sector, foreign firms such as France’s Orpea and Japan’s Nichii have tapped the elderly service market in China.

China still lacks leading players in the senior care market which includes nursing care, rehabilitation assistive devices and daily necessities for seniors, Tang said.

The long-term care insurance system will help increase the occupancy rate of some elderly services facilities given a number of elderly people can hardly afford the expenses, according to Tang.

Source: Xinhua


Air rescue relieves China from forest fires during Spring Festival

BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — Emergency air rescue has played a key role in relieving southern China from frequent forest fires during the Spring Festival, according to the emergency management authorities Monday.

During the week-long Spring Festival holidays from Feb. 4 to 10, helicopters were dispatched 91 times to fight forest fires in southern China, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

In a total of 170 flight hours, they carried a 735 tonnes of water with hanging buckets to fight eight forest fires with a total range of 25,000 kilometers.

The Spring Festival has been a key time for forest fire control in southern China due to the warmer weather and more frequent outdoor fire use during the holiday, especially during tomb sweeping and when setting off fireworks.

Emergency air rescue is playing a more important role in fighting forest fires in China, especially in southern regions with high-altitude mountains or rough terrain.

Aerial extinguishing teams take firefighters, equipment and water closer to the sites with fire fighting helicopters, allowing them to control the fire more quickly.

China is making efforts to strengthen emergency air emergency rescue capabilities by introducing new equipment, cultivating professionals and improving infrastructure, according to Ministry of Emergency Management.

Source: Xinhua


Indian rescuers struggle to pump out water from flooded mine

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – Indian rescuers trying to reach a group of miners trapped in a remote and illegal “rat-hole” coal mine are struggling to pump out water from the 370-foot-deep pit, further dimming their chances of survival more than three weeks into their ordeal.

The slow progress in the rescue efforts in the northeastern state of Meghalaya has been contrasted with the dramatic rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in July last year, which drew a massive international audience.

The mine became flooded after at least 15 miners went down the narrow pit on Dec. 13. Rat-hole mines killed thousands of workers in Meghalaya before India’s environmental court banned the practice in early 2014.

Many mines continued operation, despite the ban, requiring workers, often children, to descend hundreds of feet on bamboo ladders and dig coal out of narrow, horizontal seams.

“We are continuously engaged in our efforts but the terrain and conditions out here are extremely difficult,” Santosh Kumar Singh, an assistant commandant with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told Reuters from the site.

Navy divers and NDRF personnel had not been able to reach the trapped miners, he said.

Rescuers are now placing their hopes on a huge pump from state miner Coal India Ltd that is being installed on a concrete platform near the mine.

India’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered the federal government and Meghalaya to file a report by Monday on the rescue operation. Meghalaya told the court on Thursday that nearly 86 people had been working on the rescue effort.

At its peak, the state produced coal worth $4 billion a year, or about a tenth of India’s total production.

While the Thailand drama got round-the-clock international media coverage, the trapped miners in Meghalaya are getting very little attention, even within India.

“Whole media, government and us, the common people, have completely ignored them,” one Twitter user, Rahul Sribastab, wrote. “The government, opposition and media have failed us.”

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