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310 mln Chinese affected by natural disasters this year
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11:37, August 22, 2007

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A total of 310 million people have been affected by natural disasters of various types in China so far this year, Civil Affairs Ministry announced here Wednesday.

The direct economic losses caused by natural disasters totaled 126.4 billion yuan (about 16.85 billion U.S. dollars), according to the Ministry.

Up to now, the National Disaster Reduction Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have launched emergency response system on 41 occasions, distributing 40,600 tents to disaster-ravaged provinces to ensure temporary shelters for evacuated locals.

The State Council has decided to increase disaster relief fund from 6.7 billion yuan to 11.54 billion yuan.

Minister of Civil Affairs Li Xueju said at Wednesday's press conference that the number of people affected by natural disasters this year decreased by 9.4 percent from last year and the death toll from natural disasters dropped by 34.8 percent from last year.

Li outlined three major reasons for smaller death toll in a year with more severe natural disasters.

First, provinces and regions have reinforced levees along major rivers to enhance the flood resistance ability.

Second, China has built the emergency response system at all levels and implemented the people-first principle in disaster relief work.

Third, the quality of residential buildings has greatly improved.

Source: Xinhua

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