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Over 88,900 people killed, missing in natural disasters in 2008

More than 88,900 people were killed or went missing in natural disasters in China in 2008, and about 470 million people were affected, according to a government report Wednesday.

More than 26.82 million people were relocated and the total direct economic loss was put at 1,175.24 billion yuan ($172.16 billion), according to a report issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The great losses were due to successive unprecedented large-scale natural disasters that had swept much of the country, according to the assessment report on the prevention of natural disasters in 2008.

Heavy snowstorms that paralyzed major arteries in the southern part of the country early in 2008, a massive earthquake that shook southwestern Sichuan Province and its neighboring regions in May, severe drought and typhoons were all major disasters that led to the great losses of human lives and properties, according to the report.

About 39.99 million hectares of farmland was hit by natural disasters, of which 4.03 million hectares yielded no crops, said the report, which was posted on the website of the ministry.

Natural disasters also destroyed more than 10.97 million houses and damaged nearly 26.29 million.

More efforts are needed to accelerate infrastructure construction in both rural and urban areas, upgrade natural disasters forecast and alert systems, promote the building of relief teams and raise the country's capacity for logistic support, it added.


 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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