Natural disasters affect over 40 million Chinese in August

Beijing, Sep 16 (EFE).- Natural disasters in August affected around 41.8 million people in China, with 94 people reported dead or missing, the national ministry of disaster management said in Friday.

The ministry, in a report quoted by local media outlets, said that drought and floods were the most significant disasters, although hailstorms, earthquakes, typhoons and forest fires were also reported during the month.

Direct economic losses by the disasters amounted to 42.79 billion yuan (around $6.1 billion).

Authorities said that in August, China witnessed its highest average maximum temperatures on record, which resulted in a serious summer drought in the Yangtse river basin – the largest river basin in the country and the third-largest in the world – which lies in the center of the country.

The worst drought in decades resulted in power supply shortages in the central Sichuan province – one of the worst-affected regions – and affected several cities situated close to Yangtse or its tributaries.

This summer, rainfall in the Yangtse basin was around 40 percent less than the same period last year.

The lack of rain resulted in over 200,000 people facing problems in accessing drinking water, while over 600,000 hectares of farmland was damaged in the central Hubei province.

The extremely high temperatures also caused a significantly higher number of fires compared to August 2021, the ministry said.

On the other hand, the ministry also reported flash floods in some rivers, especially in the northern part of the country, affecting provinces such as Inner Mongolia.

Chinese meteorologist Chen Lijuan recently said that periods of intense heat, which have increasingly begun to start earlier and end later, could become the “new norm” in the country due to effects of climate change. EFE


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