Drought deepens in northern China

Jan. 17, 2009 at 3:36 PM

TAIYUAN, China, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A drought in northern China is getting worse, with officials saying Saturday they have bumped up their emergency warning level.

Officials in China's Shanxi province changed the drought warning color from blue to yellow, which indicates an advancement in its severity level, Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency, reported.

Provincial flood control and drought relief officials said Shanxi had only received 0.8 inches of rain since October, less than half the 2 inches of rain that fell during the same period a year ago.

Xinhua said a total of 5.1 million acres of farmland across the bone-dry province have been affected, including 1.34 million acres of crops. With the bump-up of the warning level, the Shanxi provincial government says it will allocate $1.47 million to subsidize operations to fight the drought.

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