BEIJING, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Natural disasters caused fewer losses in China in the first half of the year, with the death toll, missing population, and direct economic losses dropping significantly, official data showed.
During the period, around 49.61 million people nationwide were affected by various natural disasters, with 271 killed or missing and 785,000 houses damaged, said the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM).
The death toll and missing population decreased by 32.4 percent from the average amount of the same period in the past five years, according to the ministry.
Direct economic losses stood at 81.24 billion yuan (about 11.62 billion U.S. dollars), down 16.9 percent from the average value of the same period in the past five years, MEM data showed.
China was mainly hit by floods, hailstorms, and geological disasters during the January-June period, while forest fires, earthquakes, droughts, low temperatures, and snow disasters occurred to various extents.
The number of people dead or missing in floods fell by 43 percent from the average of the same period in the past five years, while the number of forest and grassland fires dropped to the lowest level in the past 10 years as the country took action to control wildfires. Enditem