The severe drought in China is having unforeseen outcomes. Due to falling water levels in the Yangtze River, a submerged island in the southwestern city of Chongqing and three Buddhist statues believed to be 600 years old are now visible, state media Xinhua reported.
The three statues were found on the highest part of the island, called Foyeliang, apparently built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. One of the statues shows a monk sitting on a lotus pedestal.
Jiangxi province, in eastern China, has been experiencing severe drought since July 15th. About 655,000 people have been mobilized to participate in the drought relief campaign in the province which is suffering economic losses of 147 million euros.
China’s severe and long-lasting heat wave has had an unprecedented effect across the country. Some rivers have dried up, including parts of the Yangtze River. In Sichuan province, public electricity use was rationed in addition to the suspension of power supply to thousands of factories due to power shortages.
This river has fallen to its lowest level in 150 years, to the point that in recent days thousands of people have been walking on what would normally be the riverbed. Rainfall in the Yangtze basin has been around 45% lower than normal since July, and according to official forecasts, high temperatures are likely to persist for at least another week.
China’s Ministry of Water Resources reported that the historic drought in the Yangtze River basin is adversely affecting the drinking water security of rural people, the livestock, and crop growth.
Meteorological departments in Hubei and Hunan provinces, located in the center of the country, are using so-called “cloud chasers” to trigger rainfall with rockets that pour condensing substances such as silver iodide into the clouds, which accelerates rainfall. China Central Television reported that 66 rivers in 34 counties in the megalopolis of Chongqing have already dried up completely.
Europe has also been going through very dry weeks, which in turn have caused some rivers to reach the lowest levels in many years. In Spain, archaeologists have been delighted by the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle dubbed the “Spanish Stonehenge”, CNN reports. The Danube has fallen to one of its lowest levels in almost a century, exposing the hulks of more than 20 German warships sunk during World War II near Serbia’s river port town of Prahovo.