(ECNS) -- The strong sandstorm sweeping China recently has affected over 560 million people in a wide range of areas, said China’s National Forestry Grassland Administration on Thursday.
Statistics show that sandstorm weather has swept China four times since March, more than the 3.3 times in 2020 over the same period.
The strong sandstorm Sunday to Wednesday originated in Southern Mongolia and southern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which has influenced various areas in China, including Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, and Henan, covering an area of 3.62 million square kilometers.
According to the National Forestry Grassland Administration, strong winds caused by frequent cold air and high temperature in dust sources such as Mongolia and northwest China from late February to early March resulted in dust weather in recent days.
In addition, in 2022, the vegetation in southern Mongolia was not as lush as that in 2021 and even in the past 20 years, together with less precipitation in the sand sources in northern China and barren vegetation in this season, sandstorm weather is hard to control, the department explained.
The department said it has carried out all-time dynamic monitoring on dust weather.
Although China has made progress in preventing and controlling desertification, it still has millions of desertified land, especially a large area of desert like gobi, which are huge and permanent sources of sand and dust, said the department. Therefore, desertification prevention and control is a long-term and arduous task, it added.