Drought affecting large swathes of China has left more than 8 million people short of water, and many livestock have died of hunger, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The country's northern regions, including Inner Mongolia and Liaoning and Jilin provinces, were among the worst affected areas, it said late on Friday, citing the flood prevention and drought control headquarters.

In Liaoning in the northeast, a leading corn-producing area, Xinhua said that close to 90 reservoirs had dried up and 25,000 wells could no longer supply adequate water supplies.

State media reported last week that Liaoning was suffering its worst drought in 30 years as a result of high temperatures and little rain and that some 1.4 million hectares of crops had been damaged.

Drought had also sapped water supplies for 870,000 people and around 1.5 million livestock in Inner Mongolia, Xinhua said. Cattle had died for lack of grass to eat in the most severely affected parts of that region, it said.

The dry weather conditions in some parts of the country contrasted with flooding in areas of southern China, it said, without giving details.

Torrential rains have wrought havoc in the south in recent weeks, killing at least 76 people, damaging houses and destroying hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice crops.