Natural disasters leave 7,844 dead or missing in China in 2010: ministry

22:45, January 14, 2011      

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Natural disasters left 7,844 people dead or missing in China in 2010, a Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) statement said Friday.

The natural disasters affected 430 million people, according to figures from the MCA, the National Bureau of Statistics, the China Earthquake Administration and the Red Cross Society of China.

They caused direct economic losses of 534 billion yuan (81 billion U.S. dollars), 1.2 times higher than the average of the previous 20 years.

Over the past 20 years, the severity of the disasters of 2010 was second only to that of 2008, when severe snowstorms and a 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck, the ministry said.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Qinghai Province in April last year and a mudslide in Gansu Province in August left around 5,000 people dead or missing.

The natural disasters affected nearly 40 million hectares of crops, with 4 million hectares yielding no harvest at all.

More than 2.7 million houses - mostly in less-developed, mountainous areas - collapsed in last year's disasters.

China's cities did not escape either. Freezing rain and snowstorms at the beginning of last year caused traffic interruptions and accidents in northern China. Severe drought hit cities in southwest China, leaving citizens thirsty and factories idle.

Flood and flood-triggered disasters - such as landslides and mudslides - wreaked the greatest havoc. Meteorologists blamed global warming for many of the mishaps.

The provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan suffered the most from natural disasters.

Source: Xinhua

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