Sunday, May 31, 2015Sunday, May 31, 2015

Costs of natural disasters in China surge to $87b in 2013

Published on Feb 24, 2014 6:24 PM
In this file picture dated Nov 19, 2013, rescuers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force recover the body of Madam Zhong Xianshu, 43, from the debris of a collapsed five-storey building in the worst hit earthquake of Sichuan province in China. -- PHOTO: SPH/CHUA CHIN HON 

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Natural disasters including droughts, floods and earthquakes cost China 421 billion yuan (S$87.6 billion) in 2013, official data showed on Monday, nearly double the total in the previous year.

China has always been prone to natural disasters but a changing climate is causing more extreme weather, which hits food production, threatens scarce water resources and damages energy security, according to the government.

Data released by the National Statistics Bureau showed flooding and mudslides cost China 188 billion yuan in 2013, 20 billion more than in the previous year.

Damage from droughts rose nearly fourfold to 90 billion yuan, while snowfall, freezes and ocean-related costs totalled more than 42 billion yuan.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!