BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Severe drought in central China's Henan Province has inflicted a direct economic loss of 7.3 billion yuan (1.2 billion U.S. dollars), 97 percent of it in the agricultural sector, local authorities said on Monday.
Henan, a major grain producing region, has raised its emergency response to the third-highest level.
Light rain in parts of Henan over the past few days did little to ease a lingering drought that is set to hurt autumn grain output, the provincial civil affairs department said in a statement.
The drought has left 19.3 million people affected and 1.1 million more short of drinking water in the province.
Meanwhile, the northeastern province of Liaoning is suffering the worst drought in 53 years as the precipitation since July has been 50 percent less than in normal years, according to the Liaoning provincial meteorological bureau.
Liaoning's drought developed last month with extremely low rainfall and high temperature and is expected to worsen as no heavy rain is forecast for the next few days, said the bureau.
Liaoning has also raised its emergency response level to the third-highest.
Meteorological authorities said they are ready to fire artificial rainmaking rockets to increase rainfall as long as conditions are suitable.