Floods leave 673 Chinese dead, 159 missing in 2012

Updated: 2013-01-05 19:17


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BEIJING - Floods killed 673 people and left another 159 missing in China last year, Zhang Zhitong, office head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said on Saturday.

"The death toll was about half the average number seen in the previous years," Zhang said.

Serious floods hit the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the upper and lower reaches of the Yellow River and northern parts of the Haihe River last year, pushing up water levels on more than 420 additional rivers, Zhang said.

Floods inundated 184 cities and affected about 120 million people, about 10 percent less than the average in previous years, he said.

Floods and droughts cost China 320.8 billion yuan ($51.49 billion) in direct economic losses last year, he added.

Zhang said droughts were less serious last year, impacting 140 million mu (9.33 million hectares) of land, about 60 percent less than the average in previous years.

More than 16 million people lacked access to clean drinking water due to droughts last year, about 40 percent less than the average in previous years, Zhang said.