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Natural Disasters Leave 108 Dead or Missing Since Late June in Hubei

Floods, landslides and lightnings have left 80 dead and 28 missing since June 17 in central China's Hubei Province, which saw the worst rainstorm-triggered disasters in seven years, provincial government said on Sunday.

The province was hit by eight severe rainstorms since the rainy season began with record-high precipitations reported in many areas, the provincial Civil Affairs Department said.

The disasters affected a total of 16 million people, including half a million who had to be displaced, said Wen Zengxian, deputy director of the department.

More than 60,000 houses were brought down and 180,000 damaged in the disasters, Wen added.

The disasters also destroyed 223,000 hectares of crops.

The direct economic loss due to the disasters exceeded 4.8 billion yuan (US$640 million), according to Wen.

Reconstruction is underway in disaster-hit areas, he said. Around 1.28 million yuan of donations are being sent to those areas.

The death toll from natural disasters, which hit half of the country, was 715 with 129 people missing by July 16, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

(Xinhua News Agency July 30, 2007)

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