China issues nationwide drought warning for first time in 9 years

The yellow warning issued on Friday is the third highest on China’s four-level scale. This indicates that at least two provinces are facing drought conditions and drier or drought conditions are expected.

The China Meteorological Agency said on Friday that temperatures could rise above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in at least 244 cities across the country, and mercury could rise to more than 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit) in another 407 cities. Fahrenheit). Forecasters expect the heat wave to continue for another week, with little rain for the next three days and continued drought.

About 830,000 people in six provinces have been affected by the drought as of Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Water Resources. More than 300,000 people experience temporary difficulties even with access to drinking water. A significant number of people have been affected, but this is only a fraction of China’s population of 1.4 billion.

Provinces in southern and central China, especially along the Yangtze River, such as Jiangsu, Hubei and Sichuan, have been hardest hit. Local authorities were advised to conserve domestic water supplies and reduce water use in the rural, commercial and industrial sectors. The authorities are also trying to seed clouds to make it rain.

The drought has affected more than 2 million acres of farmland in six provinces, a water ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

The extreme heat has caused a surge in demand for air conditioning in offices and homes, putting pressure on the power grid. The drought also led to the depletion of water levels in the rivers, which reduced the amount of electricity generated by hydroelectric power plants.

Sichuan, a province of 84 million people, has been suffering from extreme heat and drought since July. On Wednesday, Sichuan provincial authorities ordered the closure of factories for six days to alleviate power shortages related to heating.

Experts are concerned that power rationing at a key semiconductor and solar manufacturing hub could affect some of the world’s largest electronics companies, including Intel and Foxconn.

Economists have also warned that extreme temperatures could further undermine the world’s second largest economy, which is already grappling with the effects of tight restrictions due to Covid-19 and the housing crisis. Both Goldman Sachs and financial firm Nomura lowered their forecasts for China’s GDP growth this year, partly citing the heat.

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