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Summer climate disasters ravage China, killing at least 349 2006-07-03 19:32:56

    BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Climate disasters frequently hit China this summer, killing at least 349 people in June while 99 others missing, and causing an economic loss of 20.2 billion yuan (about 2.53 billion U.S. dollars), according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

    Wang Bangzhong, vice-director of disaster forecast and relief department of CMA, said Monday at a press conference that the mosts erious climate disasters during June were rainstorms which caused floods, landslides, mud-rock flow in a dozen of provinces, municipalities and autonomous region in south China.

    The rainstorm-related disasters killed at least 267 people while 99 other missing and caused total economic loss of 16.7 billion yuan (2.08 billion U.S. dollars).

    Continuous heavy rains since late May have also caused serious floods in Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan,Guizhou and Yunnan provinces as well as Chongqing municipality.

    In Fujian Province, with the most serious flooding disaster, the rainstorms left 26 people dead and caused economic loss of 5.5billion yuan (687.5 million U.S. dollars).

    China suffers floods every year during the June-to-August rainy season, during which rivers overflow and water rushes down mountains, often causing deadly landslides.

    While heavy rains were pouring down in south China, west and central parts of the country were attacked by severe drought due to rare rainfall and high temperature. In June, rainfall in Hubei Province, Henan Province and Chongqing Municipality reported only 30 to 50 percent of average.

    According to CMA statistics, the drought has affected water-supply for a total population of 12 million and damaged 1.5 million ha crop fields in the regions, with direct economic loss of more than 1 billion yuan (125 million U.S. dollars).

    Experts with CMA forecasted a heavy rainfall within the coming 10 days in west and north China. "The rainfall will ease the drought and hot weather in the area," the experts said.

    In addition, more than 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China suffered strong convection weather disasters such as thunder storm, hailstorm and tornado, which killed at least 82 people and caused 2.5 billion yuan (313 million U.S. dollars) direct economic loss.

    The CMA experts warned possible typhoon landing in late June, calling for full preparations in coastal areas, especially area near East China Sea.

    The first typhoon this year, Chanchu, landed at China on May 18,40 days earlier than the average date in previous years.

    More typhoons will hit China this year partially due to the warm ocean current in the northwestern Pacific and high temperatures in the Qinghai-Tibet Autonomous Region, according to CMA experts.

    CMA data shows that typhoons caused about 23 billion yuan (2.88 billion U.S. dollars) of economic losses and 440 deaths from1988 to 2004 in China. Enditem

Editor: Yan Zhonghua
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