Photos: Chinese children in drought-hit region make cliffhanging trips to fetch water

September 15, 2011Jing Gao3 Comments, , , ,

A severe and persistent drought, which started in June, has been parching crops in southwest China and straining drinking water supplies for more than 12.6 million people.

According to the state media, until September 8, altogether 3.41 million hectares (8.42 million acres) of farmland in four provinces, namely Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi, and Chongqing municipality, have been affected. 12.64 million people and 6.16 million livestock animals do not have sufficient drinking water as a result.

In Sichuan’s Xuyong county, rice paddy, tabacco leaves, which are grown in the region on a large scale, could not be harvested this year due to the drought. Villagers have to trudge miles and scale heights to fetch water from high up on the mountain. (Photos by Liu Zhongjun from China News)



Both parents of 8-year-old Yang Wei have left the village to become migrant workers. She stays with her grandmother and brother. Every day, Yang Wei has to climb the mountain, which is about a mile away, with her friends to get water and carry it home. The round trip takes about an hour.


Yang Wei told the reporter that the village has finally installed a water pump; soon water in the rivers will be drawn from those rivers, and she would not have to carry water home any more. The picture shows children arriving at the waterhead in a cave perched on the verge of a cliff.


Yang Wei splashes some water onto her sweaty face.




Children stagger home fully loaded with as many water as they can carry.


Children take a break halfway home.


Yang Wei gets home.


Yang Wei empties the water into a big water vat.


Yang Wei eats her brunch.


The village Yang Wei and her friends live in.

If you think only rural areas will be hit hard by the water shortage, you are wrong. In the city of Zigong, Sichuan province, students at Sichuan University of Science and Technology have to stand in lines in front of a water truck with buckets and pails for water. (Picked from Mop)

According to West China Metropolis Daily, many schools and colleges in Sichuan province have postponed the beginning of the school year. Water has been rationed. “The school turns on water three times a day,” said Duan Changcai, a senior student at Sichuan University of Science and Techonology, “After face is washed, used water is put away for flushing the toilet. (We) have to use it sparingly.”


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3 comments to “Photos: Chinese children in drought-hit region make cliffhanging trips to fetch water”

  1. [...] Ministry of Tofu has posted a striking set of photos showing small children in Sichuan clinging to cliffside paths with heavy loads of water on their backs. [...]

  2. Daniel | September 16, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    This is just the beginning of a new man made water crisis. I doubt any of the factories in Sichuan are conserving water during the crisis, yet even college students at low ranked schools are having to stand in line for water? No one at a middle or upper ranked school will see a water shortage this year. My friend sat Sichuan University and Chengdu Science and technology are oblivious to the crisis, while students at less prestigious schools do not get to shower any more. People in southern Sichuan/Yunnan are the most vulnerable and have suffered from chronic water shortages for years. The rain just doesn't come anymore.

  3. I'm | April 11, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    I want to say, Photos: Chinese children in drought-hit region make cliffhanging trips to fetch water | Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部 is a seriously fantastic thoughts. I might like to show you my personal thanks. Compliments, I’m

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