Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has said that severe drought in China has affected 34.83 million people in five provinces along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
The report, that took evidence from the five provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan,said about 4.23 million people are experiencing difficulty in finding drinking water and 5.06 million are in need of assistance.
The Ministry also estimated the direct economic loss resulting from the drought, at 4.94 billion yuan (2.29 billion dollars), Xinhua reports
It has warned the drought poses a serious threat to drinking water supplies for urban residents in affected areas.
The Ministry, along with the State Disaster Relief Commission, has ordered a series of measures, including allocating a relief fund of 55 million yuan to the two hardest hit provinces, Hubei and Hunan.
The authorities have also increased the country's largest freshwater Lake Poyong's surface area by 205 square km, in Jiangxi Province.
The officials said the lake surface area was still small as compared to the annual average rainfall. ANI)