A pig carcass lies in floodwaters on farmland following heavy rainfall in Henan Province, China on July 25, 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)
Widespread flooding in central China has devastated farmers’ livelihoods, and their lost livestock are now a potential pathogenic threat. Waterlogged animal carcasses and temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit have combined to create the risk of airborne diseases.
Floods hit cities, towns, and villages in Henan Province on July 20 and not long after, photos of pig bodies began showing up on Chinese social media.
Officials from one village named Nanweiwu published a letter on July 29 requesting disinfectants, protective equipment, and a professional team to dispose of dead livestock and to help clean up farmlands.
They said that over 90 percent of the dead livestock were still floating in the water.
Authorities said over 6,000 swine drowned in the flood but one local named Wang Shi (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times that he estimated that at least 10,000 pigs had died.
“The swine will swim for a while, and then begin to die after three days,” Wang said on July 31. “It’s the tenth day today.”
He said the waters rose every day for over a week, peaking at about 6-and-a-half feet deep.
As a result, Wang said many farmers “had considered ending their lives,” since they will not be able to afford the millions of loans taken out to raise the livestock.
Local farmers usually raise pigs in large sheds, housing between 700 to 800 of the animals. One shed is normally worth over $300,000. Farmers always own at least two sheds, according to Wang. He expects that livestock and crop losses combined will exceed $15 million.
The local Nanweiwu authorities have not stated whether they will provide financial support to flood victims. According to the agriculture ministry heavy flooding has killed almost 250,000 swine nationwide and affected 15,000 farmers.
Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.