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7,844 dead or missing in China disasters in 2010


Beijing: Natural disasters left 7,844 people dead or missing in China in 2010, an official statement said Friday.

The natural calamities also affected 430 million people, the ministry of civil affairs (MCA) said, citing official figures from various institutes.

They caused direct economic losses of 534 billion yuan (about $80 billion), 1.2 times higher than the average of the previous 20 years, the China Daily reported.

Over the past 20 years, the severity of the disasters of 2010 was second only to that of 2008, when severe snowstorms and a 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck, the ministry said.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Qinghai province in April last year, while a mudslide in Gansu province in August left around 5,000 people dead or missing.

The natural disasters affected nearly 40 million hectares of crops, with four million hectares yielding no harvest at all.

Flood and flood-triggered disasters – such as landslides and mudslides – wreaked the greatest havoc. Meteorologists blamed global warming for many of the mishaps.

The provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan suffered the most from natural disasters.