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715 People Killed in Natural Disasters So Far This Year

Natural disasters had killed 715 people in China by July 16 this year, and left another 129 people missing, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported on Thursday.

About 200 million people were affected by natural disasters, including floods, landslides, droughts, gales, snowstorms and earthquakes. A total of 4.45 million people were forced to evacuate.

More than 533,000 houses collapsed and nearly 26.18 million hectares of farmland were affected.

Total direct economic losses amounted to 73.58 billion yuan (about US$9.68 billion), according to the ministry.

The civil affairs minister Li Xueju asked local officials to provide disaster-hit people with enough food, clean water, clothing, accommodations and timely medical services.

Continuous rains have triggered floods, landslides in China's southwest, central and eastern provinces, leading to heavy losses in terms of lives and property.

(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2007)

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