The Chinese government initiated a grade IV emergency response at 3 p.m. Wednesday as drought ravaged central Hunan Province.
Grade IV emergency response means a 24-hour alert, daily damage reports, and dispatching money and relief material within 48 hours, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The ministry has sent a team to Hunan to help with relief work.
Continuous high temperature and little rain recently caused drought in Hunan's 11 cities and 61 counties, the ministry's figures showed.
The severe drought left at least 906,400 people in the province short of drinking water, according to local flood control and drought relief headquarters.
(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2009)