Losses from China disasters reach $42 billion in first nine months of 2023

BEIJING (Reuters) – China suffered direct economic losses of 308.29 billion yuan ($42 billion) over the first nine months of 2023, the government said, from natural disasters such as torrential rains, deadly landslides, freakish hailstorms and a string of typhoons.

The emergency management ministry unveiled on Sunday the unprecedented toll wrought on the nation of 1.4 billion by calamities that ranged from sandstorms to rains that brought massive flooding and historic rainfall in Beijing, the capital.

Officials said 499 people were reported dead and missing in natural disasters during the nine-month period, with more than 89 million affected, while over 2.75 million had to be evacuated and resettled.

Four typhoons during the period caused heavy losses, with the most recent back-to-back events bringing flash flooding and hundreds of landslides in southern areas, while the north and northeast suffered record rain and evacuations.

China’s crops of rice, soy and corn were also battered, triggering larger inflation worries at a time when the government is battling to stabilise the economy.

Crops across 9.71 million hectares (24 million acres) were affected in the nine-month period, the government said.

Excessive heat forced a struggle with dramatic weather swings that some experts blamed on climate change.

($1=7.2897 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Bernard Orr and Qiaoyi Li; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)