HEFEI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- A severe drought is plaguing east China's Anhui Province, leaving crops damaged and drinking water supplies disrupted in some of the hardest-hit regions, local authorities said on Friday.
From Aug. 12 to Oct. 28, the province received an average rainfall of 83.9 milliliters, 60 percent less than the amount in normal years and hitting the second-lowest level since 1961, according to the provincial meteorological department.
A total of 45 cities and counties have been ravaged, with regions in three cities along the Yangtze River suffering from the worst drought in up to 50 years, said the provincial emergency management department.
The drought has affected over 1 million residents and damaged 400,000 hectares of crops, inflicting a direct economic loss of 1.6 billion yuan (227 million U.S. dollars), it said.
The provincial meteorological authority has been using cloud seeding for artificial rain as no precipitation is forecasted in the coming week in most of Anhui.
The provincial water resources department has ordered lower-level authorities to unveil plans to ensure drinking water supply for residents and livestock.