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China Blitzed by Meteorological Disasters This Year
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China has suffered record meteorological disasters this year, both in terms of the number of disasters and the losses sustained, said sources with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) yesterday.


Xu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the CMA, said at a video-conference on emergency response to meteorological disasters that both the death toll and economic losses caused by storms and other disasters this year had surpassed the corresponding figures for last year.


This spring, northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Gansu Province were harassed by a severe drought that has lasted in total for five years.


Southwestern Yunnan Province was hit by drought last winter lasting through to this spring, the most severe drought in the past 20 years.


Southwestern Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality are reeling from the most severe summer drought since 1951.


This summer, high-temperature weather swept most regions of China.


Chongqing, Sichuan and northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region experienced between 30 and 50 high-temperature days, with record highs.


Twenty-eight districts and counties in Chongqing have had temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius, 23 of them notching up record highs. The highest daily temperature recorded in Chongqing observatory this year is in fact the highest since 1924.


Forest fires hit northeast China and the provinces of Yunnan, Shanxi and Hebei this spring, making 2006 the worst year for forest fires since 1988.


From May 21 to June 2, catastrophic forest fire broke out in succession in Heihe City in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and in Oroqen Autonomous Banner and Yakeshi City in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.


China recorded 19 sandstorms this year, the biggest number since 2000, five of which were severe.


Coastal China has been hit by a series of typhoons this year -- including Typhoon Chanchu, Bilis and Saomai -- that have caused untold damage.


Saomai is the most severe typhoon to have lashed the Chinese mainland since 1949.


(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2006)

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