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China July-Aug economic losses from disasters double from first six months

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– China’s direct economic losses from natural disasters in July to August ballooned to 75.37 billion yuan ($10.31 billion), nearly double of losses in the first six months, driven by extreme rainfall and floods in the wake of powerful typhoons.

The losses in August totalled 34.19 billion yuan, according to data from China’s Ministry of Emergency Management on Wednesday, adding to the steep 41.18 billion yuan losses in July, the start of an unusually wet summer in China.

Northern China, including Beijing, were the hardest hit by floods after record rainfall from Typhoon Doksuri. Overall, close to 8.9 million people nationwide were affected by natural disasters last month including floods, while 168 people were either killed or went missing.

“When typhoons make their way deeper into inland regions, they tend to yield more pronounced losses,” said Shao Sun, a climatologist at the University of California, Irvine.

“A primary contributing factor is the relative lack of historical exposure of inland areas to typhoons, thus weakening their defense mechanisms.”

Barely having recovered from last month’s floods, China is bracing for more powerful storms and rain in September.

Parts of northeastern Heilongjiang province and western Xinjiang region could see as much as 50% more rain than normal this month, the emergency management ministry warned on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, southern China including Guangdong and Fujian provinces have been hit by two typhoons over four days since Sept. 2, which brought violent winds and dumped record rainfall that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands.

“The most powerful typhoons to make landfall in Guangdong, Hainan, Fujian, and Hong Kong since 1949 have typically occurred in September. Therefore, it’s crucial to strengthen vigilant monitoring, preemptive warnings, and risk mitigation strategies in the southern regions of China,” said Sun.

($1 = 7.3086 renminbi)

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