After weeks of intense heat, China issued a countrywide drought notice

In the Yangtze river basin, authorities are battling forest fires and mobilising specialised teams to protect crops from the extreme heat. China has issued its first annual national drought alert

The nationwide "yellow alert," which was issued late on Thursday, falls two notches shy of Beijing's most severe warning

It follows weeks of intense heat in areas ranging from Sichuan in the southwest to Shanghai in the Yangtze delta

Government representatives of China have often attributed the problem to climate change

The Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, central China, one of the Yangtze's significant flood basins, has now decreased to a quarter of its normal size for this time of year

The water resources ministry has ordered drought-affected agricultural areas to establish rotas outlining who can access supplies at any one time in order to avoid supplies from running out

5.5 million people were directly impacted by 2.73 billion yuan ($400 million) in direct economic losses brought on by July's extreme temperatures