BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rains have relieved the effects of a lingering drought in several provinces in central China, but they have also resulted in floods that have displaced over 25,000 people in the region.
Before the hard rains started to fall on June 3, over 3.5 million people were dealing with water shortages caused by the drought, according to a statement posted on the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters' official website.
Now, however, only 2.15 million people are still being affected by the water shortages, as the heavy rains have refilled reservoirs in the region, the statement said.
The rains have aided the region's farmers. The total area of farmland affected by the drought dropped by 22.31 million mu (1.49 million hectares) to hit 34.64 million mu as of Monday, the statement said.
Drought-afflicted Jiangxi Province received a boost from the heavy rain, with 80 mm of precipitation recorded between June 3 and 6. Jiangsu Province, on the other hand, has continued to suffer, with a mere 3 mm of precipitation during the same period.
Drought-hit provinces will be "basically relieved from the affects of the drought this month" as the rainy season begins, Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), was quoted as saying in a report by China National Radio on Monday.
He said local authorities should not slacken their efforts to fight the drought, as water levels remain low in many of central China's major lakes, rivers and reservoirs.
A recent CMA forecast said that heavy rains will lash parts of eastern and southern China from Monday to Wednesday.
The office also said that the continuous downpours have lifted water levels of rivers in the provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi and Guizhou, with water in some areas rising beyond safe levels and triggering floods in some areas of Hunan and Guizhou.
About 1.22 million people in four cities and prefectures of Hunan have been affected by the flood waters, with 27,700 people temporarily relocated, the office said.
The CMA has ordered local authorities in drought-hit regions to prepare for floods while continuing their work to relieve the effects of the drought.