BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rainfall and floods have affected 6.75 million people since the start of the flood season, down 48 percent from the average affected population over the past five years, a senior official said Tuesday.
More than 20 provincial regions were hit by floods, with Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the provinces of Jiangxi, Fujian and Guangdong suffering heavy losses, said Ye Jianchun, vice minister of water resources, at a press conference.
Direct economic losses amounted to 10 billion yuan (about 1.45 billion U.S. dollars), down 41 percent from the average amount of the last five years.
Some 623,000 hectares of crops were affected and over 15,000 houses collapsed or were severely damaged, down 32 percent and 79 percent than the average over the last five years, respectively.
The country was also hit by droughts which affected 4.07 million people and 640,000 hectares of crops as of early June.
Ye also said flood and drought prevention work faced great challenges this year due to the adverse weather conditions in the flood season.
The country will strengthen prevention and control of floods and droughts by preventing severe meteorological risks and providing emergency rescue and disaster relief, said Ye.