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The hottest and driest summer in more than 60 years of meteorological records in China, led to the withering of crops and half drained reservoirs. Authorities in Sichuan and neighboring Hubei province say thousands of hectares of crops have been completely lost and millions have been damaged.
Factories in Sichuan were closed last week to save electricity for homes as temperatures hit 45 degrees Celsius and demand for air conditioning skyrocketed. According to preliminary information, the Department of Economics and Information Industry of Sichuan Province will extend the shutdown of factories until Thursday.
The coming 10 days are the “key period of damage resistance” for the rice crop in southern China, Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian said on Friday. Therefore, the authorities decided to take emergency measures to “ensure the autumn grain harvest”, which is 75% of China's annual harvest.
The authorities will “try to increase rainfall” by sowing clouds with chemicals and spraying crops ” “water-retaining agent” to limit evaporation, according to the website of the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry did not specify the areas where these measures will be applied.
On Saturday, Hubei provincial authorities declared a state of emergency due to drought, while the Sichuan government said more than 800,000 people were facing shortages of drinking water.
Sichuan has been hit the hardest by the drought because 80% of its electricity comes from hydroelectric dams. In offices and shopping centers in Sichuan, the authorities ordered the lights and air conditioners to be turned off. In the provincial capital of Chengdu, to save electricity, the lights at the subway stations were turned off to the maximum.
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