Yangtze floods cause least casualties last year since 2000

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WUHAN, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Floods on the Yangtze River, China's longest, had left 161 dead and 20 missing as of Oct. 31 last year, the least casualties since 2000, the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission has said.

Direct economic losses caused by floods reached 93.9 billion yuan (14.4 billion U.S. dollars) last year, according to the commission.

Scientific control and effective rescue efforts had avoided heavier losses, said Wang Hui, spokesperson for the commission based in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.

Precipitation at Poyang and Dongting lakes in the lower and middle reaches of the river was 50 percent more than normal in June and July last year and the upper reaches saw rare floods in September and October.

Dozens of reservoirs in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze cut their water storage in advance to prepare for floods last year.