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Nearly 1,000 people died in July from natural disasters in China
BEIJING, Aug 9 (AFP) Aug 09, 2006
Natural disasters killed nearly 1,000 people and left another 310 missing in China in July, state media said Wednesday, as two more potentially deadly storms approach the southeast of the country.

Most of July's 987 deaths occurred during typhoons which struck several provinces in southern, eastern and central China, Xinhua news agency said.

In the southeastern coastal regions, floods, landslides and mudflows claimed 637 lives and left 210 missing, Xinhua said, citing official statistics.

The report did not give details about where the other deaths occurred, but bad weather has taken its toll right across the country.

Floods and landslides killed 24 people in the far northwestern province of Gansu in late June and July, Xinhua said last week.

Severe storms led to the deaths of another nine people in neighboring Inner Mongolia on July 27 and 28, according to Xinhua.

The devastation continued into August with Tropical Storm Prapiroon killing at least 80 people in the south and southeast of the country, although this was not mentioned in Wednesday's report.

A total of 146.4 million people were affected by natural disasters in July, with total losses put at 68.8 billion yuan (8.6 billion dollars), Xinhua said in Wednesday's report.

The government said in late July that more than 1,300 people had been killed and 306 were missing from weather-related incidents from the start of May to July 21.

More storms are approaching, with the China Meteorological Bureau warning that two or three tropical storms or typhoons would hit China's coastal areas this month.

Typhoon Saomai is expected to make landfall late Thursday between Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in the southeast, Xinhua said.

Packing winds measuring 180 kilometers (112 miles) per hour, Saomai, named after the Vietnamese word for the planet Venus, is expected to move between Taiwan and Okinawa from Wednesday night through Thursday.

Tropical storm Bopha, 1,000 kilometers behind Saomai, is moving westward toward China at a speed of 20 kilometers per hour, according to the Fujian meteorological observatory.

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has called on Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces to closely monitor and prepare for Saomai and Bopha.

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