BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on Friday reduced the level of emergency for the drought to the second class as snow and rain watered northern farm land in the past week.
In China's eight major wheat-growing provinces - including Henan, Hebei and Shandong - the area of drought-afflicted land had decreased by more than half from the most severe period as of Thursday, the MOA said in a statement Friday.
It said recent snow and rain in the north greatly alleviated the drought while the government's relief efforts took effect.
The MOA launched a top-level emergency response for drought on Feb.2, sending experts to help farmers irrigate their crops.
The government has also turned to cloud-seeding and water diversion from rivers.
However, the drought would continue and even worsen in some regions as temperature rises would increase water demand, said the MOA.
About 10 percent of farm land in those eight provinces was still suffering from the drought on Thursday, said the MOA.
Nationwide, there were about 70 million mu (4.7 million hectares) of drought-affected crops as of Thursday, 91 million mu less than the worst time on Feb. 7, said the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Thursday.
Most regions of north China have seen one to six mm of rainfall since Tuesday, according to the office.