China has issued its first national drought alert of the year as officials battle wildfires and mobilize specialist teams to protect crops from scorching temperatures in the Yangtze River basin.
The national ‘yellow alert’, issued late Thursday, comes after regions from Sichuan in the southwest to Shanghai in the Yangtze Delta experienced extreme heat, with government officials repeatedly citing global climate change as the cause. . This alert is two degrees lower than the most severe warning on Beijing’s scale.
In one of the important flood basins of the Yangtze in central China’s Jiangxi province, Poyang Lake has now shrunk to a quarter of its normal size, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.
State broadcaster CCTV said on Friday that 66 rivers in 34 counties in the southwestern region of Chongqing had dried up.
CCTV quoted local government data as saying that this year Chongqing has received 60 percent less rainfall than the season’s norm, and that many districts are deficient in soil moisture.
Temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday in Bebei district, north of Chongqing’s urban center, according to the China Meteorological Bureau.
Chongqing had six of the country’s 10 hottest places on Friday morning, with temperatures already touching 39 degrees Celsius in Bishan district. Shanghai was already at 37 degrees.
Pressure has mounted on the Chongqing region’s infrastructure and emergency services, as firefighters are on high alert as mountain and forest fires rage across the region. State media also reported a rise in heatstroke cases.
The gas utility in the Fulling district told customers on Friday it would cut supplies until further notice as they deal with “serious safety hazards.”
The Chongqing Agricultural Bureau has also formed expert teams to protect vulnerable crops and expand planting to compensate for losses before the autumn harvest.
The Ministry of Water Resources has directed drought-affected agricultural areas to prepare rota to determine who can supply at a particular point of time, to ensure that they do not run out.
High temperatures in July alone caused direct economic damage of 2.73 billion yuan ($400 million), affecting 5.5 million people, according to data from China’s emergency ministry late Thursday.
Meanwhile, China’s National Meteorological Center (NMC) renewed its high-temperature red alert on Friday, the 30th day in a row it issued an alert, it said on its Weibo channel. State forecasters also predicted that the current heatwave would only start to subside on August 26.
The weather agency said in its daily bulletin that the 45 lakh square kilometer national area has now recorded a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius or more in the last one month – nearly half of the country’s total area – with more than 200 weather stations recording record highs. Is.
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