China's Yangtze region facing severe drought, affecting production: report

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The middle and lower reaches of China’s Yangtze river are suffering from the most severe drought in 40 years, with temperatures up to 3 degrees Celsius higher than normal in some regions, the official People’s Daily said on Thursday.

Citing the ministry in charge of handling natural disasters, the newspaper said the drought was affecting local grain production, and had delayed rapeseed planting in the region.

The total arable land affected by drought in the Yangtze’s middle and lower reaches was 154% higher than last year, the ministry said. It did not give the total area.

The Ministry of Emergency Management said temperatures were 1-3 degrees Celsius higher than usual in the central provinces of Hubei, Jiangxi and Anhui and in parts of Fujian on the southeastern coast.

China has suffered several bouts of extreme weather this year. Government forecasters have attributed record high summer temperatures and rainfall throughout China to global warming.

The Ministry of Natural Resources also said in September that coastal sea levels were some 48 millimeters higher than the 1993-2011 average in 2018, with winter ice volumes significantly smaller and temperatures higher than normal.

Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Jane Wardell