Beijing (AFP) Aug 31, 2010
More than 4,200 people have died or are missing in floods in China so far this year, the worst to hit the country in more than a decade, the government said Tuesday.
Torrential rains triggering floods and related natural disasters have affected 230 million people and resulted in the evacuation of 15.18 million people as of August 31, the monthly toll report said.
A total of 3,185 people have been killed, while 1,050 are listed as missing in flood-related natural disasters in China so far this year, it said.
The central government has allocated more than two billion yuan in relief funds to the eight provinces hardest hit, which include Gansu in the northwest which was hit by a massive mudslide and neighbouring Sichuan and Shaanxi.
Direct economic losses stood at more than 350 billion yuan (51.4 billion dollars) as over two million homes have collapsed while over five million buildings have been damaged, the report said.
A devastating mudslide in Gansu in August was the worst flood-related disaster so far this year, leaving at least 1,467 dead and 298 missing.
The overall situation has triggered a repeat of disastrous flooding in 1998, when heavy rain swelled the Yangtze, China's longest river, and many tributaries, leading to devastating levee collapses.
At least 4,150 people are thought to have died, 18 million were evacuated and millions of homes were destroyed in those floods, the country's worst in recent memory.
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