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Natural Disasters Claim 3,186 Lives in China in 2006

China witnessed frequent natural disasters which claimed 3,186 lives in 2006, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced in Beijing Wednesday.

Natural disasters damaged 41 million hectares of farmland, toppled down 1.93 million houses and forced 13.84 million people to leave their homes, causing direct economic losses of 252.8 billion yuan, said Li Liguo, vice minister of civil affairs, at a two-day national conference on disaster relief which ended Wednesday in Maoming City of south China's Guangdong Province.

According to Li, the central and local governments earmarked more than 10 billion yuan (about US$1.25 billion) last year in disaster relief and salvation.

The Disaster Deduction Commission and the Civil Affairs Ministry sent out 60 disaster relief working groups to the affected areas in 2006.

(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2007)

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