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233 bln yuan lost to droughts, floods

(Xinhua)

14:56, February 02, 2012

CHONGQING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Droughts and floods caused 232.9 billion yuan (36.97 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses in China last year, according to new figures.

Some 89.42 million people were affected by floods in 2011, with 519 people dead and 121 missing, Zhang Zhitong, a senior official with the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said at a national work conference in south China's Chongqing municipality on Thursday.

Floods affected 108 million mu (7.2 million hectares) of crops, destroyed 690,000 houses, and caused direct economic losses of 130.1 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, droughts affected 244 million mu of crops, left 28.95 million people and 1,617 livestock suffering drinking water shortages, and resulted in 102.8 billion yuan of direct economic losses, Zhang said.

Despite severe droughts and floods, China's grain output rose to a record high of 571.21 million tonnes in 2011 due to the government's intensified efforts to minimize the effects of the natural disasters on agricultural production, Chen Lei, minister of water resources, said at the conference.

Last year's grain output figure represented a year-on-year increase of 4.5 percent and marked the eighth consecutive year of growth.

Chen said more efforts should be made this year to ensure the safety of rivers and reservoirs and that people have access to clean water.

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