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From northwest to east China, parched regions face drought

June 13, 2024 3:26 PM IST

Drought in China | Rainfall in China

Weeks of scarce rainfall in parts of China, coupled with sweltering heat, has brought drought to several provinces, prompting alerts and actions from authorities to minimise the impact on agriculture, and water and energy supplies.

Temperatures this week are forecast to scale record highs in parts of China as countries across Asia brace themselves for another summer of extreme weather.

China’s agriculture ministry said on Thursday that searing temperatures have adversely impacted summer planting and that fighting drought and protecting summer planting were arduous tasks. The ministry has sent several work groups to seven provinces to offer guidance in the fight against drought.

China’s Water Resources Ministry this week launched emergency responses to manage drought on in Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces, indicating various regions in the country spanning the northwest to the east are facing parched and scorching conditions.

With dwindling precipitation since May in areas around the Yellow River Basin, in combination with the onset of searing temperatures this month, drought is threatening cultivated land that were being prepared to be sown as well as sown crops, Xinhua reported.

The harsh weather conditions will feature until the end of next week, with drought expected to worsen, the official media said.

In some parts of Hebei, Henan and Shandong provinces, temperatures could reach 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit), potentially breaking historical records for the month of June, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Surface temperatures could hit 70 C in some localities including in Shanxi and Shaanxi, it added.

The emergency management ministry has alerted affected regions including northwestern Shaanxi, northern Hebei and Shanxi, eastern Anhui and Shandong as well as central Henan to protect water and food production.

China’s national forecaster predicted continuous heat wave conditions and warned about the need to prepare for emergency power suppliesand fire prevention in forest areas, the People’s Daily reported.

Electricity demand typically soars when temperatures run high as people crank up the air-conditioning to stay cool.

Rain, not heat, is the threat in southern China. Coastal Fujian’s provincial observatory raised a warning for wet weather and potential disasters after forecasting heavy rainfall until Saturday.

(Reuters)

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