China issued its first national drought advisory of the year as authorities mobilize specialized teams to protect crops from sweltering temperatures throughout the Yangtze River Valley.

The "yellow alert" nationwide, which was announced Thursday night, comes after weeks of high temperatures that have dried up parts of the Yangtze, damaging crops and limiting the supply of drinking water to some rural communities.

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On Beijing’s alert scale, yellow is two points below the most severe warning.

As many as 66 rivers in 34 counties in southwest China have dried up due to the scorching heat.affected by rainfall that has decreased by 60 percent this year compared to seasonal standards, state television CCTV reported today.

Meanwhile, the China National Meteorological Center today renewed its red alert for high temperatures, thus adding thirty consecutive days issuing warnings, it announced on its Weibo channel, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

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On Friday morning, the central municipality of Chongqing registered six of the ten hottest spots in the country, with temperatures in Bishan district exceeding 39 degrees Celsius.

State meteorologists also they predicted that the current heat wave would only start to subside on August 26.

According to data from the Chinese Ministry of Emergencies, the high temperatures in July caused direct economic losses of 2,730 million yuan (400 million dollars, 397 million euros) and affected 5.5 million people.

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For its part, the highest body in water resources in the country reported in a statement on Wednesday that the drought in the entire Yangtze River basin was "negatively affecting the safety of drinking water for rural people and livestock, and crop growth".

This unusual drought in some areas of central China, accompanied by an unprecedented heat wave, has caused the suspension of activity in numerous factories due to the increase in energy demand and production unable to assume it, with threats of cuts in areas residential.

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