BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Severe drought has affected 51 million Chinese and left more than 16 million people and 11 million livestock with drinking water shortages, China's State Commission of Disaster Relief said Friday.
About 4.348 million hectares of farmland were affected and 940,200hectares would yield no harvest, the commission said in a statement.
Since autumn last year, southwest China, including Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality, has received only half its annual average rainfall and water stores are depleted.
The commission said the ministries of finance, agriculture, civil affairs and water resources had appropriated more than 370 million yuan (54.4 million U.S. dollars) to the provinces, autonomous region and municipality to combat the drought.
The funds are generally to be used to purchase drinking water, equipments and supplies for urgent water construction projects.
More than 4,000 troops of Chinese People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) in Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Guangxi and Chongqing have been mobilized to help rural residents with water supplies.
The PAPF detachment in Yuxi, Yunnan Province, has supplied more than 17 tonnes of its water reserve to 176 households in the province. In Sichuan, PAPF troops used their machinery to help pump underground water.
In Guangxi, the PAPF troops transported water in trucks to 13 remote villages which were home to more than 7,000 farmers and 6,000 livestock.
Weather forecasts show no obvious indications of rain in the drought region in the next 10 days.