China raises drought alert to top level

February 6th, 2009 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Feb 6 (DPA) China’s government Friday raised the emergency status in drought-stricken regions to the highest level for the first time, as lack of rain threatens the harvests on more than 10 million hectares of farming land.Fifteen provinces, including Anhui and Henan as well as the region along the Yellow River, are hit by the worst drought in half a century, the China Daily newspaper said.

Officials fear to lose up to 5 percent of the total grain harvests, but in regions like Henan and Anhui the harvests is expected to be up to 20 per cent lower than last year.

Rainfalls decreased by between 50 percent and 80 percent in most regions of northern and central China, local meteorological offices said.

About 4.29 million people and about 2 million head of livestock suffer from lack of drinking water.

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