Jeju Suffers Worst Drought in 90 Years

      August 20, 2013 12:01

      The island of Jeju is suffering extreme drought after seeing no serious rain since June 27. A mere 0.5-19 mm of rain fell in some parts of Seogwipo briefly on Monday, but that was not enough to relieve the drought.

      In the whole of July, Jeju saw only 14.7 mm of rain, compared to the average rainfall of 239.9 mm for the month on the island. Average rainfall for August is 292 mm but so far this month only 0.5-20 mm of rain has fallen there.

      The drought is the worst in the 90 years since records began and even longer than the 1994 drought that lasted 47 days from June 23 to Aug. 8.

      The floor of the Baekrokdam crater on Mt. Halla is exposed on Aug. 3, 2013 amid severe drought on Jeju Island. /Newsis

      On Aug. 6, Jeju began restricting tap water to some 2,800 households of about 8,600 people in the inland mountainous region to every other day. It is highly likely that the provincial government will reduce that to every three days unless the island gets enough rain toward the end of the month.

      Paddy and dry fields are parched. Farmers finished planting carrot seeds in 1,552 hectares of farmland in eastern Jeju, which produces about 60 percent of all carrots in the country, in late July, but they have not come up. Field crops such as soybeans and sesame are withering. Despite the tourism peak season, hotels and restaurants are suffering from the restrictive water supply.

      The provincial government treats the drought as a disaster, setting up drought emergency offices in eastern Jeju, which is especially badly affected. The Jeju office of the Korea Water Resources Corporation operates an emergency water supply center for the 11 villages in the region around the clock. Since early July, the Jeju fire prevention center has sent out fire trucks to supply residents with drinking water as many 1,462 times.

      Meanwhile, the southern mainland also suffers a drought. Crops are about to dry out in Busan and South Gyeongsang Province, as well as some islands in South Jeolla Province.

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