People irrigate the wheat field at Xiaolu Village in Yuzhou, a city in central China's Henan Province, on Feb. 4, 2009. Henan, China's major grain producer, issued a red alert for drought on Jan. 29. The provincial meteorological bureau said the drought is the worst since 1951. The drought has affected 63 percent of the province's 5.26 million hectares of wheat. (Xinhua/Niu Shupei)
BEIJING, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters launched an orange alert on Wednesday, urging local authority to be fully aware of the grim situation and give drought-relief work top priority.
The unprecedented drought which started last November, has affected 146 million mu (9.73 million hectares) of crops nationwide by February 4, among which 42.19 million mu are severely affected, according to the latest figure released by the headquarter office.
About 139 million of wheat land in the eight wheat-producing provinces were threatened, comprising 46 percent of the total wheat croplands in the areas.
People irrigate the wheat field at Xindian Village in Luoyang, a city in central China's Henan Province, Jan. 4, 2009. Drought has hit most of Henan Province, one of China's key wheat producing regions, due to lack of rainfall since last October. (Xinhua/Guo Shasha)
Some 3.98 million people and 1.95 million livestock are short of drinking water.
The headquarter office asked local governments to be accountable for relief work and make every effort to expand irrigation areas.
The local authority should enact integrated plans on water distribution to minimize the risk of the drought, according to an emergency notice by the headquarter office.
Four more working teams were sent to the drought-hit areas on Monday to supervise the relief work.
The Ministry of Finance is expected to arrange more funds, after the previous 100 million yuan (14.6 million U.S. dollars) to support the relief effort.