673 Chinese killed in floods in 2012



Beijing: Floods killed 673 people and affected about 120 million in China last year, officials said on Saturday.

"The death toll was about half the average number seen in the previous years," Zhang Zhitong, office head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said today.

Floods hit the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the upper and lower reaches of the Yellow River and northern parts of the Haihe River last year, pushing up water levels on more than 420 additional rivers, Zhang said.

Floods inundated 184 cities and affected about 120 million people, about 10 per cent less than the average in previous years, he said.

Floods and droughts cost China 320.8 billion yuan (USD 51.49 billion) in direct economic losses last year, he added.

Zhang said droughts were less serious last year, impacting 140 million mu (9.33 million hectares) of land, about 60 per cent less than the average in previous years.

More than 16 million people lacked access to clean drinking water due to droughts last year, about 40 per cent less than the average in previous years, Zhang said.

PTI