Villagers make treacherous journey to find drinking water in China

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Villagers make treacherous journey to find drinking water in ChinaRex Features

Many of us take clean water for granted. But for some villagers in the Sichuan Province of China the search for water is much further than the kitchen.

Amidst the worst drought southwest China has experienced in 50 years - it's affecting some 17 million people - families in Chahe village are risking life and limb to quench their thirst.

Now that their streams have dried up, Chahe residents are forced to turn to caves in the surrounding high altitude mountains to collect their drinking water.

Villagers including eight-year-old Yang Wei (pictured) have to make several trips a day along a path next to a vertical cliff to find water one kilometre from Chahe. At its widest the walkway is just one meter across and a mere half a foot wide at its narrowest.

Villagers make treacherous journey to find drinking water in ChinaRex Features


China Daily reported that the drought has dried up 479 reservoirs and 349 rivers. The Chinese central government has allocated around £195 million to drought-fighting efforts, such as trying to induce artificial rain, the drilling of wells and pumping groundwater.

But the future looks brighter for the people of Southwest China; meteorological authorities say mild rain showers will sweep the affected regions in coming days, hopefully putting an end to the once-in-a-century drought.

Many people have little or no access to safe water for drinking, hygiene and sanitation - to find out how you can help those from the world's poorest communities take a look at the international non-governmental organisation WaterAid.