'Over 1300 lives lost to natural disasters in China in 2012'
Beijing: Over 1300 people were killed in natural disasters in China last year with such calamities also causing over USD 66 billion losses, an official statement said today.
About 1,338 people died and another 192 went missing in various natural disasters in China last year, according to a joint statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the office of the National Committee for Disaster Reduction.
Disasters affected 290 million people, destroyed 906,000 houses, severely damaged 1.46 million houses and caused direct economic losses of 418.55 billion yuan (USD 66.55 billion) on the Chinese mainland, the statement said.
Over 200 county-level areas were each hit by more than 10 natural disasters last year, it said.
Floods, geological disasters, typhoons and hail were the major adverse conditions that hit China last year, and droughts, earthquakes, snowstorms, sandstorms and forest fires also occurred, it said.
According to the statement, the country's western regions were hit by multiple earthquakes.
In 2012, the Chinese mainland was jolted by 16 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or above, and all occurred in the western regions, the statement said.
The number of casualties and damaged houses in southwest China, which saw a severe drought followed by several rounds of rainstorms and earthquakes in 2012, accounted for about 40 per cent of the nationwide total, it said.
The statement also noted that rescue and relief efforts were more difficult to carry out for disasters in the country's least-developed areas.