Natural disasters cost China 22.8 billion dollars in 2003, leave 2,145 dead
Crop failure to some 9.14 million hectares (22.6 million acres) of farmland and the collapse of 3.48 million homes compounded the misery.
Much of the damage was brought on by torrential rains and flooding during the summer months, leading to landslides and serious soil erosion.
Earthquakes, especially in China's north-western Xinjiang region, were also serious, the Xinhua news agency said, citing preliminary ministry figures.
A drop of between five and eight times normal rainfall coupled with abnormally high temperatures in northern, north-eastern and south-western China also exacerbated drought in these areas, effecting this year's harvest.
Some 60 million hectares of farmland were affected by natural disasters this year, while total crop failure was reported on what amounts to over seven percent of China's total arable land, it said.
About 3.48 million homes collapsed during the year due to the natural disasters that resulted in the emergency evacuation of some 7.07 million people, the ministry said.
The ministry allocated 3.0 billion yuan in emergency funds during the year, including sending out some 51 emergency relief teams to 18 provinces and regions, it said.
Copyright (c) 2003 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 12/15/2003 01:14:36
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