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Natural Disasters Kill 1,528 in China Last Year

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Natural disasters had left 1,528 people killed or missing in China in 2009, and caused more than 252 billion yuan (US$37 billion) direct economic loss, Ministry of Civil Affairs said Tuesday.

More than 90 percent of the deaths and missing were caused by flood and wind-hail in 2009, the ministry said in a statement.

It said that natural disasters had caused the evacuation of 7.1million people and a total of 480 million population had been affected by natural disasters.

The ministry said some areas were repeatedly hit by serious natural disasters, such as severe drought, flood, snow and typhoon.

Disasters, especially drought, snow and freezing weather, swept a total of 47.2 million hectares of farmland, and nearly 5 million hectares had no harvest in 2009, it said.

Also in 2009, nine typhoons and tropical storms landed the Chinese mainland, leading to the evacuation of a large number of population.

The heavy snow hitting the northern China in November caused large scale traffic disruption, plane delays and evacuation of 160,000 stranded people, it said.

Earthquake, ice storm, heat and plague of insects were other major disasters, according to the ministry.

(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2010)

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