BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- A series of drought relief measures have been taken in parts of China, including southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and central China's Hubei Province, that have been hit by back-to-back heatwaves.
Affected by the hot weather, the average precipitation since July this year in Chongqing is about half of that for the same period of previous years. Some small and medium-sized rivers are so dry that they have stopped flowing.
Statistics show that more than 600,000 people across the municipality and 36,700 hectares of crops have been affected by the drought.
The municipal flood control and drought relief headquarters on Monday activated an orange alert for drought and a level-III emergency response, urging local authorities to take measures to fight the drought and ensure water supply for both urban and rural residents.
In Hegeng Township of Yongchuan District, Chongqing, nearly 1,000 residents of two villages had reported water shortages. The local fire department used the water tanks of their fire trucks to deliver water to the villagers.
Mobile water supply vehicles were also dispatched to Luoping Village of Wushan County, Chongqing, as part of the drought emergency measures, to provide water for villagers and their livestock.
In Qijiang District, Chongqing, drought relief teams have been sent to villages to inspect and maintain water supply facilities. The local government also plans to carry out artificial rain enhancement to alleviate the drought.
The municipal meteorological department forecast that heatwaves would continue in most areas of Chongqing until mid-August. The municipal flood control and drought relief headquarters has asked all districts and counties to take effective measures to ensure the safety of drinking water and reduce agricultural losses due to drought.
In neighboring Hubei Province, as of 4:00 p.m. Monday, over 5.5 million mu (about 366,666 hectares) of crops were affected by the drought, with 227,000 mu bearing no harvest at all.
The provincial water conservancy department has supplied nearly 5.6 billion cubic meters of water for irrigation of 37.5 million mu of farmland.
The flood control and drought relief headquarters of Hubei launched an emergency response last Saturday. As of Monday, a total of 973,000 officials and residents across the province had participated in drought relief, and 610 million yuan (about 89.9 million U.S. dollars) of drought relief funds had been pooled.
China has earmarked 200 million yuan of disaster relief funds to support drought relief work.
The emergency funds, allocated by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Water Resources, will be used to support drought relief efforts in eight provincial-level regions, including Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia.