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Natural Disasters Kill 2,309 in First Nine Months

A variety of natural disasters killed 2,309 Chinese people, left 567 people missing and demolished 1.6 million rooms during the first nine months this year, according to figures released from a government disaster-relief meeting on Tuesday.

"This year China has been hit by the most severe natural disasters since 1998," said Li Xueju, Minister of Civil Affairs and vice director of the State Disaster Reduction Commission.

The government has responded to the disasters by increasing financial aid for disaster relief. So far, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has allocated 3.2 billion yuan of the central government's emergency disaster relief funds and 44,100 tents to the affected areas.

China has established a system that provides early warnings of potential natural disasters, which enables the release of real-time information on weather, earthquake prediction, land resources and oceans through telephone, Internet, radio, television and wireless communication networks.

Ninety-three percent of China's prefectures and 82 percent of its counties have established quick-response plans to deal with natural disasters.

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2006)

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