China: Natural Disasters Cause 449 deaths in First Half of 2011

Natural disasters in mainland China resulted 449 dead, 100 missing and direct economic losses valued at 21,800 million dollars in the first half year, officials said.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on its website, from January to June over two million people were evacuated and 274,000 buildings were collapsed.

During the first half year the mainland was hit by frequent earthquakes, seven of which registered magnitude 5.0 or more, while three storms hit the country last month.

Droughts, floods and snow hit 25 million 500 thousand hectares of crops, according to the document prepared in conjunction with the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Railways and Transportation.

60 percent of the deaths and most of reported missing were in the central provinces of Hubei and Hunan, also the southwestern Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan.

The central government had to pay $249 million in grants to people affected by disasters, as well as assign basic necessities.

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