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Meterological Disasters Inflict 300-billion Yuan Annual Losses
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Meteorological disasters in China are causing direct economic losses of up to 300 billion yuan (US$38.6 billion) in China each year, said Qin Dahe, director of the China Meteorological Administration, on Tuesday.

The financial losses, which exclude indirect costs such as lost labor hours, account for between two to five percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP) a year, he said.

Meteorological disasters, including droughts, floods and tropical storms, affect 600 million people in China every year.

The country suffered a volley of natural disasters last year, the worst since 1998, resulting in over 2,000 people dead, more than 500 missing and millions of people being made homeless.

Qin said China was planning to launch more weather satellites this year to monitor weather changes and come up with new ways to minimise the impact of adverse weather. Millions of dollars will also be invested this year to complete a meteorological radar network that was initiated in 1999.

(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2007)

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