China is suffering sustained drought as over 10 million people have been facing drinking water shortage since mid-April, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said Sunday.
A total of 16.6 million hectares of cropland have been struck by severe drought in most parts of northern China regions and southwestern Yunnan Province, the headquarters said.
The current drought affects 2.1 million hectares more than the average in the same period of past years, the headquarters said.
Meanwhile, 7.88 million heads of livestock have also suffered from the shortage of drinking water, it said.
Since mid-April, most parts of northern China provinces and regions have rarely seen rainfalls and experienced frequent strong winds, including Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.
Hebei Province is suffering its worst drought in 55 years, with 520,000 people having seasonal difficulty to access drinking water and 2.3 million hectares of cropland affected.
It is estimated that the province will lack 5.2 billion cubic meters of water in the first half of this year, according to Hebei Provincial Department of Water Resources.
In Yunnan Province, a quarter of the cropland, or 1.06 million hectares, have been hit by drought. In addition, 3.38 million people are suffering drinking water shortage.
Spring plowing and sowing were seriously affected in these areas by drought.
The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has issued an urgent notice, ordering local governments to take strong and effective measures and try every possible means to combat the drought.
The local governments were told to keep a close watch over the drought situation and prepare and implement more detailed plans to fight against the problem in an orderly way.
"Drinking water safety for urban and rural residents must be secured and placed on top priority of the drought-relief work," the notice said.
The notice required local governments mobilize technical workers and anti-drought service organizations to go to farmland to assist local farmers solve difficulties on the spot.
Meanwhile, the headquarters have sent special working teams to drought-stricken areas to instruct and supervise the anti-drought operations.
The Finance Ministry has earmarked 100 million yuan (12.5 million U.S. dollars) of special funds for drought-stricken areas to fight the disaster.
Local governments have called for all-out efforts for drought relief.
Hebei diverted 120 million cubic meters of water from the Yuecheng Reservoir located at Handan City in the province's south to its northeastern Cangzhou City to help irrigate 73,333 hectares of cropland.
Heilongjiang ordered its local governments to secure the spring plowing and sowing.
Yunnan has allocated 5 million yuan (625,000 U.S. dollars) for drought relief in addition to the financial support from the central government.
In the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, local meteorological authorities have got prepared for carrying out artificial rainfall once weather condition permits.