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China issues first national drought warning

China is the first country to do so this year as authorities battle forest fires and mobilize a team of experts to protect crops from heat waves across the Yangtze River Basin. A drought warning has been issued.

A nationwide 'yellow alert' issued late Thursday was followed by weeks of extreme heat in regions from the southwestern province of Sichuan to Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta, government officials said. is repeatedly cited as a cause of global climate change.

This alert is two notches short of the most severe alert on Beijing's scale.

Lake Poyang, one of the major flood basins of the Yangtze River in central China's Jiangxi province, has now shrunk to a quarter of its normal size for this time of year, state news agency Xinhua said. told Thursday.

As many as 66 of his rivers, which span 34 counties in the southwestern region of Chongqing, have dried up, state broadcaster CCTV said Friday.

Chongqing's rainfall this year has fallen by 60% compared to seasonal averages, and soils in some districts are severely dehydrated, CCTV said, according to local government data. said by quoting

Temperatures hit 45 degrees Celsius on Thursday in the North North district, north of Chongqing's urban center, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Chongqing had six of the ten hottest places in the country on Friday morning, with temperatures already approaching 39 degrees Celsius in the Bishan district. It was already 37 degrees in Shanghai.

Chongqing's infrastructure and emergency services are under increasing strain, with firefighters on high alert as wildfires and forest fires erupt across the region. State media also reported an increase in heatstroke.

A gas operator in the Fu Lin district told customers on Friday that it would suspend supply until further notice to address a "serious safety issue."

The Chongqing Agricultural Bureau has also set up a team of experts to protect vulnerable crops and expand planting to make up for losses ahead of the fall harvest.

The Ministry of Water Resources has instructed drought-stricken agricultural areas to create rotors that determine who has access to supplies at a particular time and to ensure they do not run out.

Data released by China's Ministry of Emergency Situations late Thursday showed that July's high temperatures alone caused direct economic losses of $400 million and affected 5.5 million people.

Meanwhile, China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) updated its high temperature warning on Friday, issuing a warning for the 30th straight day, it said on its Weibo channel. State forecasters also predicted that the current heat wave would start to subside by Aug. 26.

The Meteorological Agency said in a daily report that he had temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius over 4.5 million square kilometers of the country. More than 200 weather stations set record highs, covering almost half of the country's total area for the past month.