Natural disasters kill 799 in first nine months

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BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Natural disasters left 799 people dead and 90 missing nationwide in the first nine months, according to a statement by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction Wednesday.

Torrential rain which caused floods and other geological disasters, resulted in 608 deaths, the statement said.

Natural disasters caused a total of 315 billion yuan (about 47.7 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses, and forced relocation of about 4.7 million people.

In addition, more than 139,000 houses were destroyed and another 1.5 million were damaged to varying degrees. The disasters affected about 18.2 million hectares of farmland, with more than two million hectares destroyed.