BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Natural disasters in China in the first half of this year have left 3,514 people dead and 486 missing, and caused about 211.39 billion yuan (31.19 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Thursday.
Disasters, including earthquakes, floods, droughts, freezing temperatures, snowstorms, strong winds, hail, and landslides, caused the evacuation of 6.44 million people and affected the lives of more than 250 million people, the ministry said in a report.
Natural disasters affected 20.29 million hectares of farmland in the first half year, destroying about 3 million hectares of crops, it said.
The damage caused by natural disasters during the period was much more severe than in previous years, the report said.
Earthquakes, ice storms, droughts and floods were the major disasters, according to the ministry.
A 7.1-magnitude quake struck Yushu in northwest China's Qinghai Province on April 14, killing more than 2,200 people and flattening thousands of homes.
From January to June, 18 provincial-level areas suffered from droughts and 26 areas were ravaged by floods, the ministry said.
The number of geological disasters such as landslides greatly increased, resulting in bigger casualties and heavier economic losses year-on-year, according to the report.