China reported 8.05 billion yuan (US$981 million) in direct economic losses caused by maritime disasters in 2003, up 22 percent year-on-year with a total of 128 people dead or missing and 20 million people affected, official figures showed.
According to a report released by the National Bureau of Oceanography, storm tides were blamed as the major cause of oceanic disasters for the country in 2003. Fourteen storm tides caused 7.8 billion yuan (US$960 million) in direct economic losses, with 25 people reported dead or missing.
The storm tide that took place last October in Bohai Sea and Laizhou Bay was responsible for 1.31 billion yuan in direct economic losses in the coastal provinces of Hebei and Shandong, and the port city of Tianjin Municipality, according to the report.
A total of 119 red tides were recorded last year in Chinese sea areas, up 40 times over the previous year.
Ocean waves were responsible for the deaths and disappearance of 103 people last year and 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in direct economic losses, the administration said in the report.
(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2004)