The Chinese government has issued its first national drought alert amid heavy forest fires which are wreaking havoc on crops. Part of the alert includes mobilizing a special team tasked with protecting crops from skyrocketing temperatures across the Yangtze river basin.
This is coming after regions from Sichuan to Shanghai battled weeks of extreme heat, which the government has blamed on global climate change. The government believes that the yellow alert issued on Thursday will bring about some relief to regions affected by extreme heat.
The extreme heat in Yangtze’s flood basins of Jiangxi province has shrunk Poyang Lake to one-third of its average size. In the same vein, nearly 66 rivers scattered across 34 counties in the southwestern region of Chongqing have dried up.
Data shows that rainfall around Chongqing has shrunk by nearly 60%, a sharp difference from what it used to be. More so, the soil across several districts is severely short of moisture.
According to China’s weather bureau, temperature across Beibei, north of Chongqing’s center, reached as high as 45 degrees celsius on Thursday, with authorities expecting things to worsen in the coming days.
As of Friday morning, Chongqing was among ten of the hottest cities in the country as temperature rallied past 39 degrees celsius in some districts. Meanwhile, Shanghai saw temperatures rise to as high as 37 degrees Friday morning.
While the Chongqing region continues to battle consistent rising temperature levels, firefighters have been put on red alert as mountain and forest fires erupted across different locations. More so, state media has been reporting new cases of heatstroke.
How increasing temperature is affecting businesses
The increasing temperature changes in most Chinese districts have affected several businesses. Due to extreme drought and limited rainfall, dams and reservoirs are beginning to dry out, resulting in poor power output, forcing many companies, including Toyota, to cut off operations in some districts.
Similarly, Fuling, a leading gas utility in Chongqing, announced to customers that it would cut off gas supplies to residents until things get better, citing severe safety hazards as a reason for its move.