Nature's cruellest trick

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2011, 12:00am


As lakes vanished, crops withered and died and drinking water ran out through the first five months of the year, signs of an end to China's worst drought in 50 years seemed like the answer to a billion prayers at the beginning of this month. But then the rain kept coming, and it has not stopped. River banks have burst, sweeping away newly replanted crops, flash floods have turned city streets into filthy rivers, and the parched land has proved ripe for landslides. The death toll is estimated at more than 200, while another 1.6 million people have been evacuated. And the rain keeps coming.