881 people die of natural disasters in 2017: ministry

Updated 2018-02-02 14:42:01 Xinhua

A total of 881 people in China died and 98 others went missing in natural disasters in 2017, including floods, typhoons, droughts and earthquakes, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Thursday.

Natural disasters affected 140 million people in total, causing 5.25 million to be relocated during emergencies and leaving 1.7 million in need of emergency relief, the ministry announced on its website.

Altogether 18.5 million hectares of crops were affected by the disasters and 1.8 million hectares failed, causing direct economic losses of 302 billion yuan (about 48 billion U.S. dollars), according to the ministry.

Around 153,000 houses were toppled in the disasters and 312,000 seriously damaged, the ministry said.

The briefing also said the natural disasters in 2017 were notably less severe than the average for the past five years, with the crop area affected and direct economic losses dropping over 20 percent.

In 2017, the number of houses toppled or damaged in natural disasters was down more than 60 percent compared to the average from the past five years, and the number of people affected by, killed, or relocated due to disasters was more than 40 percent lower, the ministry said.

It also pointed out that almost 2,400 county level administrative areas, over 80 percent of all in the country, were affected by natural disasters to some extent.

Among those who died or went missing in the disasters, nearly 60 percent were in the country's western regions, and over three-fifths in 39 major natural disasters that took place in the west, meaning more than five people died in each disaster.

Almost all destitute counties were affected by natural disasters due to their natural environment and ability to fight disasters, suffering losses accounting for about half the national total.

During the year, floods and geological disasters affected 69.5 million people nationwide, killing 674, while typhoons affected 5.9 million people, killing 35, the ministry said.

Droughts hit 9.87 million hectares of crops across the country, inducing direct economic losses of 37.5 billion yuan.

Altogether 13 earthquakes measuring 5 or above on the Richter scale took place in the Chinese mainland in 2017, affecting 648,000 people and killing 33.

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