BEIJING (AP) _ A heat wave that has baked cities along the Yangtze River nearly all month has killed 290 elderly people in the southern city of Nanchang and is endangering the crops of 5 million people, newspapers reported.

Sunday's editions of the Shanghai daily Wenhui Bao said temperatures in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, have hit 100 degrees every day this month.

The paper, seen in Beijing today, said officials in the city of about 1 million people have opened normally closed grassy areas and underground shelters to help people seek relief from the heat.

The daily also said that Shanghai hospitals have treated 1 million people for heat-related illnesses during the heat wave. It said emergency centers have treated 40 percent more patients than usual.

The China Daily reported today that Shanghai's 12 million residents have packed movie theaters and department stores, among the few buildings with air- conditioning, as temperatures have hovered between 95 and 100 degrees for 10 days.

In neighboring Jiangsu province, temperatures over the past 10 days have ranged between 100 and 104 degrees, seriously endangering crops in one of China's main grain-producing areas, the paper said.

It said 1 million people in Jiangsu lack adequate drinking water and 5 million people in drought-stricken areas are struggling to save their crops.

The daily earlier reported that 83 people died from the heat in the provincial capital of Nanjing.

It said high temperatures and humidity in Beijing have caused a rapid growth of flies and mosquitoes, with malaria cases jumping 53.4 percent in the first 10 days of July. No figures were given.