BEIJING - As of January 28, 77.4 million mu (5.16 million acres) of crops had been harmed by the ongoing drought, and 2.57 million people were faced with drinking water shortages in China, the national drought control authorities said Sunday.
Local governments of the affected regions must make efforts to monitor drought conditions, speed up the building of water projects, increase drought-fighting material reserves and grant subsidies to the drought-stricken population, said officials at a meeting attended by Chen Lei, deputy head of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH).
The National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecast the drought to worsen in the next two months, saying Sunday that the drought-hit north China and regions along the Yellow and Huaihe rivers would receive little rain or snow in February and March.
Chen, also minister of water resources, stressed the importance of drought relief efforts, guaranteeing agricultural production and ensuring drinking water safety for boosting consumers' confidence, controlling consumer prices and inflation and maintaining economic growth.
Since last Autumn when the drought began, local authorities have assigned 9.55 million people and 2.15 million sets of drought-fighting machineries to draw 8.2 billion cubic meters of water to irrigate 110 million mu of crop land.