Chinese farmer faces ruin after his flock of sheep drowned in floods

By Xiaoyu Yin and Josh Arslan

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese farmer Zhou Lu had raised hundreds of sheep for four years. Now they lie, belly up or on their sides, dead and bloated after drowning in a flood brought on by a torrential typhoon.

For three days, Zhou collected the more than 500 carcasses of his animals in plastic bags for disposal.

“I don’t have any emotion now. I so want to … die,” the 42-year-old said on Tuesday in his village near the northern city of Zhuozhou.

Zhuozhou, southwest of the capital, Beijing, was the place hardest-hit by floods after Typhoon Doksuri brought unusually heavy rain to northern China late last month.

At least 34 people were killed and homes, businesses, roads and farmland were destroyed.

“There were dead sheep, dead pigs, dead dogs, dead cats on the street, I put them all in bags,” said Zhou, standing in a yard with the few sheep that survived from his flock of 1,500.

Many of his sheep ran away in the flood, he said.

“I’ve invested for four years but haven’t seen one cent of return. Now it’s all over, completely over.”

The heavy rain and extreme heat in China and many other places around the world have shattered records and raised fears about the pace of climate change brought on by global warming.

Zhou said that until last month, he had never experienced a flood, which are common in the summer rainy season in southern China.

“I was born in 1980, this is the first time I’ve seen a flood,” he said.

There was a flood warning but no one anticipated how bad it would be, Zhou said.

As well as the devastation to his flock of sheep, Zhou said his egg-processing factory was severely damaged.

Altogether, he estimated his losses were more than 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) and he still had loans of 8 million yuan to pay back to the bank.

(Reporting by Xiaoyu Yin and Josh Arslan, writing by Albee Zhang)