BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Natural disasters left 1,338 people dead and another 192 missing in China last year, according to an official statement released Sunday.
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 (66.55 billion U.S. dollars) on the Chinese mainland, according to a joint statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the office of the National Committee for Disaster Reduction.
Over 200 county-level areas were each hit by more than 10 natural disasters last year, the statement said.
Floods, geological disasters, typhoons and hail were the major adverse conditions seen in 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 numbers 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 percent of the nationwide total, the statement 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.