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Geological Disasters Blamed for 464 Dead, Missing in China in H1

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Geological disasters have been blamed for 464 people listed as dead or missing in the first half of this year, the most since 2001, according to data from the China Institute of Geo-Environment Monitoring.

In the first six months of 2010, a total of 19,553 geological disasters took place in China, up ten times year on year, causing 1.86 billion yuan (US$274.34 million) in economic losses, said the Institute Wednesday in a report released on its website.

Further, according to the report, 14,6114 landslides occurred during this same period, accounting for 75 percent of the total geological disasters, and another 21 percent were mountain collapses.

Additionally, up to 18,781 disasters, or 96 percent of the total, were caused by natural factors, including torrential rains, melting snow and thawing ice, which was mainly a result of China's frequent extreme weather this year, said the report.

Meanwhile, the remaining 4 percent, or 772 disasters, were caused by human factors, such as mining, groundwater exploitation, and road construction, the report said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2010)

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