China: 135 killed or missing in natural disasters in May

BEIJING, Jun 6, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --

Natural disasters in China last month killed 117 people and left another 18 missing, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a report released on Wednesday.

More than 45.56 million Chinese were affected by natural disasters in May and local governments have evacuated or resettled 231,000 people, according to the report.

Natural disasters, mainly floods, landslides, mud-rock flows, drought and hailstorms, hit 8.76 million hectares of farmland and destroyed more than 190,000 houses, causing direct economic losses of 8.6 billion yuan (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars).

Floods, landslides and mud-rock flows caused heavy casualties in May.

Meanwhile, drought continues in some regions, according to the report.

Hailstorms hit southern China frequently in May, affecting 15 provinces, regions and municipalities, with Shandong, Jiangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan and Guizhou the worst-hit areas.

A total of 42 people were killed by lightning in May including seven children who were killed in the village of Xingye, 300 km from Chongqing Municipality, the report said.