Natural Disasters cost China nearly $200 billion last year

In Asia, Governments & Politics, News Headlines

BEIJING — China says natural disasters including the devastating Sichuan earthquake cost the country almost $200 billion last year.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs says disasters left 88,928 people dead or missing, the vast majority of them in last May’s magnitude-7.9 quake.

The earthquake left millions of people without homes or jobs. Earlier in the year, freak snowstorms in parts of southern and central China badly damaged power lines and other infrastructure.

The ministry said on its Web site Thursday that disasters inflicted direct economic losses of about 1.35 trillion yuan ($198 billion) last year, nearly five times more than in 2007.

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