Widespread and prolonged drought has left more than 12 million Chinese thirsty for drinking water, said the State Flood Control and Draught Relief Headquarters Thursday.
The drought, which hit the country's north, northwest and southwest, has also affected 14 million hectares of arable land, among which 3.1 million hectares are crops.
Tian Yitang, deputy chief of the office of the headquarters, said 11 million heads of livestock are also suffering from drinking water shortages.
Tian said the three-month-long drought has severely affected crop plantings in the southwestern city of Chongqing and the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan despite the 10-50 millimeters of rainfalls during the past week.
He added the situation is very likely to deteriorate in the country's northern areas as little rain is forecast within the near future while the temperature is rising.
(Xinhua News Agency April 13, 2007)