BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Searing heatwaves have scorched several Chinese regions for about two months, bringing challenges for the country in alleviating its impact on residents.
The National Meteorological Center (NMC) issued the first highest alert for high temperatures this year on Aug. 12, and renewed it in a six-day streak until Wednesday.
"The scorching weather, which continuously baked most southern areas since June, has reached a peak," said Chen Tao, chief forecaster of the NMC.
According to the National Climate Center, the comprehensive intensity of the regional heatwaves that have hit China since June 13 is the strongest since 1961 when the country started to keep complete meteorological records.
Why should we keep an eye on the lingering hot weather? What can we do to cope with it?
-- How will baking temperatures affect production and life?
Some regions across China are suffering drought triggered by sustained hot weather, which may last into late August, a critical period for the growing of autumn grain, accounting for 75 percent of the country's annual grain output.
Commercial crops in south China, such as tea trees, citrus fruits and mangoes are fragile to heatwaves, said Chen.
In central China's Hubei Province, approximately 397,200 hectares of crops had been affected by water shortages as of Tuesday, said the provincial agricultural department.
Water supply for urban and rural residents were also affected as some small and medium-sized rivers were too dry to flow. In southwest China's Chongqing, several villages have reported water shortages.
-- What are China's relief efforts?
A series of measures have been taken in China to ensure the water supply and to take care of the health and security of residents.
On Aug. 12, China earmarked 200 million yuan (about 29.47 million U.S. dollars) to support drought relief and the transfer of emergency water supplies in eight provincial-level regions including Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi and Ningxia.
Work groups and agricultural technicians have been sent to major food-producing provinces and regions hard-hit by heatwaves and drought to provide disaster relief supplies and technological guidance.
Local authorities also stepped up efforts. Chongqing has dispatched mobile water supply vehicles and drought relief teams to villages, while its neighboring province, Hubei, has diverted nearly 5.6 billion cubic meters of water for irrigation and pooled over 610 million yuan of drought relief funds.
The NMC has issued alerts for high temperatures on 28 consecutive days, advising the public to avoid outdoor activities or shorten the duration of exposure to heatwaves, pay close attention to fire safety, and take particular care of vulnerable groups. ■