BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- A drought that has plagued the Yangtze River's downstream provinces for the last two months has caused direct economic losses of 2.44 billion yuan (about 376 million U.S. dollars) in east China's Jiangsu Province, according to official statistics issued Thursday.
The drought has affected 1.09 million people in Jiangsu so far, and these people are in urgent need of government relief, said a statement from the National Commission for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), citing reports from the province's civil affairs agency.
The worst drought to hit the region in decades has impacted a total of 617,600 hectares of farmland, of which 12,600 hectares have been rendered unusable, the statement said.
The NCDR and the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Thursday dispatched a disaster survey team to Jiangsu as part of the country's overall drought relief efforts.
China's central government has already sent similar teams to the drought-hit provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Anhui over the past three weeks. The government has also allocated 105 million yuan in subsidies to aid those who have been negatively impacted by the drought.
The NCDR on Thursday also unveiled figures that summed up the impact of May's natural disasters.
Last month's natural disasters, mainly droughts, caused 44 deaths, left 72,000 people displaced and affected a total of 55.33 million people throughout China, the commission said.
The total direct economic losses caused by May's natural disasters amounted to 23.09 billion yuan, it said.
It added that the disasters impacted 4.97 million hectares of farmland, with 297,300 hectares left with no plants to harvest. A total of 113,000 houses were destroyed or damaged by natural disasters that occurred in May.