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China suffering worst drought in half a century


China has set their drought emergency condition to red after 100 days with little or no rainfall across twelve provinces:

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China is suffering another natural disaster -- this time, the worst drought in half a century. The land is parched and the irrigation dams have dried up. Crops and livestock are dying. Water levels in some Chinese rivers are well below their average with 50 to 80 percent less rain than last year.

China on Thursday raised the drought-emergency-alert level from orange to red and allocated an additional $44 million dollars on top of the $13 million in emergency aid already released.

More than 4.3 million residents face a shortage of drinking water, as do 2 million livestock. The drought has hit 12 provinces, including the wheat-producing areas in Henan, Anhui, and Shandong provinces. Chinese media says the total area affected has reached 1,370 million hectares (3,385 million acres).

Rain has been forecast for part of the region in the next few days. Whether that will alleviate the extent of the drought remains to be seen. The government has dispatched emergency teams to assist farmers in irrigation and to bring supplies to affected regions.