People set up irrigation system in a farmland in Jiaozuo, central China's Henan Province, Jan. 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Xu Hongxing)
Drought continues to plague many parts of China, with tens of thousands suffering water shortages and millions of others affected.
Since October, little rain has fallen in several provinces including Shandong, Hebei, Henan, Anhui, Shanxi and Jiangsu.
In north China's Hebei Province, 370,000 residents are having difficulty getting drinking water while another 9 million are affected in other ways, the provincial Civil Affairs Department said.
Direct economic losses total 1.04 billion yuan (158 million U.S. dollars).
Only two millimeters of rain has fallen in the province since November, which is 80 percent less than normal.
In the wheat-growing province of Shandong, the snow that fell in some areas on Friday was too little to affect the drought's grip.
Provincial authorities there raised the drought disaster alert to its highest level on Thursday.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, allocated 2.2 billion yuan for farm irrigation and drought-relief equipment and supplies on Thursday.
The central government has earmarked 4 billion yuan to ensure drinking water supply and water conservation projects in drought-hit regions.