BEIJING -- Persistent drought has caused widespread water shortages in central and north China, affecting more than 27.5 million people, according to official figures.
The result of high temperatures, lack of rainfall and inadequate water storage, central China's Henan and Hubei provinces as well as Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north saw nearly four million people in need of basic living support, a statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.
In Henan, the worst hit region, the drought had affected 19.3 million people and left 1.19 million in need of basic living aid as of 11 a.m. Friday. Some 186,200 hectares of crops were destroyed, it said.
An almost equal amount of crops were destroyed in Inner Mongolia.
In terms of livestock, Inner Mongolia suffered the most with more than two million large farming animals, mainly horses and cows, in need of drinking water.
The ministry and the National Committee for Disaster Reduction said two special teams were sent to affected regions to review damage and guide relief work.
Earlier this week, Vice Premier Wang Yang urged local authorities to take effective measures to fight drought and minimize losses, promising funds from the central government to restore production.