National drought warnings have been issued as intense heat is felt from southwest China’s Sichuan province to Shanghai in the Yangtze River basin.

According to the news agency Reuters, China issued a national ‘yellow alert’ last Thursday (August 18) night. According to Beijing’s scale, this level of caution is level three.

The country’s state-run Xinhua news agency said Poyang Lake, a key flood basin of the Yangtze River in central China’s Yangtze province, has shrunk to a quarter of its normal size for this time of year due to drought.

According to data released by China’s Ministry of Emergencies on Thursday night, direct economic losses of $4 billion and 5.5 million people were affected by high temperatures in July alone.

As many as 66 rivers flowing through 34 counties in southwestern Chongqing have dried up, state-run CCTV reported on Friday.

Beibei District, north of the city center of Chongqing, recorded a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius on Thursday, according to the China Meteorological Bureau.

Six of the country’s 10 hottest areas were in Chongqing on Friday morning. The temperature in Bishan district of the region has already reached close to 39 degrees Celsius. And the temperature in Shanghai has risen to 37 degrees Celsius.

Weather scientists of the country have said that the intensity of heat may decrease from August 26.

(19 August)