Changing weather patterns in northwestern China’s Qinghai province are leaving some areas hit by floods, while others suffer from a drought that is killing fish and leaving fresh water in short supply, sources in the region say.
In one drought-hit township in Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Chumarleb (Qumalai) county, the situation has become critical, with streams that normally feed the Ma Chu River now drying up, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“The conditions in Matoe township have not only caused the death of many fish but are making fresh drinking water hard to find,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“At present, local Tibetans are drinking from a nearby lake and from muddy water.”
Though some rain fell in Matoe on July 13, “this wasn’t enough to solve the problem,” the source said.
Local Tibetans are blaming Chinese experimental rocket launches in the area for the drought and have asked for them to be halted, the source said.
“But the government has said that the launches are intended to bring rain, not prevent it, and because the tests have been ordered by the Chinese government, they can’t be stopped.”
Large parts of Chumarleb and nearby Dzatoe (Zaduo) counties are now vast deserts of dry grass, RFA’s source said.
Torrential rains and floods have meanwhile struck other counties in Qinghai, resulting in loss of life among humans and livestock, another local Tibetan source told RFA.
In Dola (Qilian) county in the Tsojang (Haibei) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, frustration over the slow pace of government rescue efforts this week led to the detention of four Chinese Muslim residents who confronted the county governor as he ate at a restaurant.
“The governor had toured the area affected by the flood and then went to dine with several guests,” RFA’s source said.
“But a group of Muslims became angry at his complacent attitude while others were suffering, and they gathered in front of the restaurant to confront him.”
Four Muslim county residents were quickly taken into custody, but their names and details of their whereabouts and present condition are still unknown, he said.
Reported by Chakmo Tso and Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.