BEIJING (Reuters) - About 4 million hectares of crops are suffering from a severe drought in China that has hit 13 provinces including the major farming province of Sichuan in southwest China, state news agency Xinhua said.
The drought has left 7.8 million people and 4.6 million livestock without adequate drinking water in provinces including Yunnan, Hebei, Shanxi and Gansu as of Thursday, Xinhua said.
The dry spell has dried reservoirs and threatens spring planting, the agency said, citing the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
The province of Yunnan in southwest China, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, is so far the worst hit, Xinhua said, without giving details.
China, which has just 6 percent of the world's fresh water resources but a fifth of its population, is frequently gripped by drought.
Last year parts of the country suffered their worst drought in 50 years, officials said, with rainfall 40 to 60 percent less than normal, damaging crops and cutting power from hydroelectric dams.
A drought in the top sugar-producing province of Guangxi last year also led to a surge in imports as China tried to ease tight sugar supply.
Reporting by Koh Gui Qing, editing by Jane Baird