China

China's 2006 natural disasters killed over 3,000

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BEIJING, May 23 (Reuters) - Natural disasters including typhoons, floods and droughts killed 3,186 people in China in 2006, the death toll rising 28.7 percent on the previous year, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

Natural disasters damaged some 41 million hectares (101 million acres) of farmland and destroyed more than 1.9 million houses. That caused direct economic losses of 252.8 billion yuan ($33 billion), up 23.8 percent year-on-year, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Local governments "evacuated or resettled 13.8 million people affected by natural disasters in 20*06, and about 1.89 million houses were repaired," Xinhua said.

China experienced its warmest year in 2006 since 1951, and was lashed by a series of deadly typhoons and rainstorms.

Economic losses in 2006 were the second highest on record after 1998, when floods caused about 300 billion yuan in damages, the report said.

The Yangtze River Flood Control Headquarters warned that China's longest river was likely to flood badly this year for the first time since 1998, when more than 3,000 people were killed and 14 million were made homeless, the China News Service reported on Wednesday.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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