Nearly 89,000 died in 2008 China disasters

May 24, 2009 at 10:35 PM
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BEIJING, May 24 (UPI) -- The earthquake in Sichuan province and other natural disasters last year killed 88,928 people in China, the government said Sunday.

The total is the highest since 1976, when more than 242,000 people died in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Tangshan in northern China's Hebei province, Xinhua reported, quoting the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Last year's disasters affected 480 million people and resulted in financial losses of about $173 billion, the state-run news agency reported.

Besides the May 12 Sichuan earthquake, which left more than 87,000 people dead or missing, other disasters included blizzards and heavy snows in much of central and southern China, the ministry said.

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