Local authorities are urging China’s central government to boost relief efforts amid a severe drought affecting several parts of the country.
Over the past year, parts of China have seen precipitation levels fall by as much as 90 per cent, with some of the worst affected provinces including Henan, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu.
Millions of people in China are facing a shortage of drinking water, as low rainfall and higher than average temperatures threaten millions of hectares of crop land.
Li Yan, a climate change campaigner with Greenpeace China, has told Radio Australia that drought-affected farmers are facing the possibility of being forced back into poverty.
“Many farmers, their livelihood is depending on the winter wheat and this drought is causing concerns for production of this season of winter wheat,” she said.
“This will definitely have an impact on their economic wellbeing for the next couple of months.
“Also, we’ve actually found out that the poor communities in China, they’re affected the most badly.
“So, the poorer farmers in those provinces have the risk of going back to poverty again.”
Last year, south-western China was struck by a devastating drought that has affected more than 18 million people and 10 million livestock.
While the drought continues to ravage large swathes of land, freezing rain and heavy snow are wreaking havoc in the southern provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.
Ms Yan says such disasters have become more frequent and she sees climate change as a major factor.
“China is already becoming one of the biggest victims of climate change,” she said.
“This is obvious and everyone can see it and we are already affected right now.
“At the end of the day, to cut and to control emission growth and to cut more pollution is the ultimate solution for China to avoid more and more loss from natural disasters.”