BEIJING - A drought that has gripped parts of central and southern China has retreated after downpours over the weekend that brought deadly flooding to one area, official media reports said on Tuesday. The China Meteorological Administration said in a statement on its website (www.cma.gov.cn) that heavy rain was likely to continue on Wednesday, with torrential downpours expected to hit the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi.
It also warned that the rain could cause more floods in central and southern China, including regions emerging from the 100-day drought. The rains shrank the area of farmland affected by drought by 39 percent to 2.3 million hectares (8,880 square miles), including in the major rice-growing provinces of Hubei and Hunan, the People’s Daily reported, citing the national flood and drought relief office. Parts of China along the Yangtze River basin and nearby have been enduring their worst drought in 50 years or more, with rainfall 40 to 60 percent less than normal over recent months, damaging crops and cutting power from hydroelectric dams. Some dry areas enjoyed rains of up to 80 millimetres (3.1 inches) between Friday and Monday, the People’s Daily said.