China / Society

Typhoon damage hits $5b

By China Daily (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-19 07:45

Direct economic losses from the four typhoons that have hit China this year have accounted for one-third of the nation's total flood damage, a national official said at a media briefing on Tuesday.

Damage from typhoons so far this year is 35 billion yuan ($5.47 billion). More than 1 million people in 11 provincial-level areas have been affected, according to Zhang Jiatuan, a spokesman for the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

"Typhoons that landed in China have caused significant economic losses this year, even though the number of people affected has decreased by nearly 45 percent compared with the same period in the years since 2000," Zhang said. Precautionary measures are needed, since two typhoons are expected to hit China next month, he added.

Typhoon Soudelor, which slammed into southeastern China earlier this month, brought torrential rain. Fujian, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces were the most affected.

To reduce damage from extreme weather conditions, warnings and preparation are essential, while "further efforts should be made to prevent water-logging in urban areas", Zhang said.

Flooding has occurred in 154 cities this year, affecting 255 million people, said Sun Chunpeng, director of the hydrological information forecasting center at the Ministry of Water Resources.

"Urban flooding has not been given enough attention in the past," Sun said. "More time is needed to solve long-term problems. 'Sponge City' projects in many cities are still in their infancy."

The "Sponge City" programs, launched last year by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Water Resources, aim to reduce flooding by absorbing rainwater and returning it underground.

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