INTRODUCTION: China is suffering from a prolonged drought - in some areas no rain has fallen for nearly two years.
GV EXTERIOR PAN Workers attempting to farm parched land.
SV Man turns on pump, water flows from pipe. (2 SHOTS)
GV Workers carrying water from well.
SVs Workers digging furrows. (3 SHOTS)
SV Man filling holes with water. (2 SHOTS)
SV Workers sowing seeds.
GV PAN Field with farm workers.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: China is suffering from a prolonged drought - in some areas no rain has fallen for nearly two years. The drought coincides with government plans to reorganise China's rural communes, set up under Chairman Mao, and alter the diet of the country's peasants in an effort to lessen reliance on grain, much of which has to be imported.
SYNOPSIS: Farms in Shantung Province are experiencing their worst water shortage in 20 years. Workers are having to carry water from pumps to the fields to water their crops - if they can get anything to grow at all. And although it is mainly rural areas that are being affected by the drought, Peking too is facing a water shortage after the worst drought there for a hundred years. Although Peking radio warned residents to prepare for possible flooding when and if the summer rains arrive, the long range forecast is bleak. The current drought has raised doubts about China's policy of diverting funds from agriculture, especially irrigation programmes, to roads and industry.
As the authorities, hitherto proud of China's self-reliance, request international aid, the threat of famine hangs over millions of the country's people.