The Chinese government on Thursday pledged another 80 million
yuan (US$10.4 million) to help fight a widespread and prolonged
drought that has left nearly 9 million people short of drinking
The central government has launched an emergency mechanism on
drought relief to offer timely financial support to affected areas,
according to the Ministry of Finance.
The drought triggered by continuous high temperatures and lack
of rain in most parts of northern China since early March also
affected 14.93 million hectares of arable land, 25 percent up from
the annual average, and 7.52 million head of livestock.
Gansu and Qinghai provinces and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
were among the most severely hit areas.
"The government is closely watching the progress of the
drought," said the ministry.
A total of 303 million yuan has been allocated this year from
the central government to local governments for drought
The Ministry of Agriculture earlier warned the drought could
damage the year's summer crop output.
(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2007)