29 May 2011

China drought now affects 35 million

6:06 am on 29 May 2011

China says almost 35 million people are now affected by the worst drought in 50 years in central and eastern provinces.

Officials at the Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze River say they may not be able to release any more water to alleviate the situation if there's no rain in the next two weeks.

The BBC reports that reduced hydro-electricity production is exacerbating power shortages and more than five million people are short of drinking water.

Many fishermen have sought work in cities as lake water levels plummet and fish die.

Severe agricultural losses in China's major grain producing area could further inflate food prices.