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China blames global warming for extreme weather
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-08-01 15:55
China's top meteorological official has blamed global warming for extreme weather in China this year, urging concerned departments to improve emergency responses to reduce possible losses.

"Extreme weather has incurred frequent natural disasters such as rainstorms, floods and droughts across the country this year," said Zheng Guoguang, chief of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

Fierce rainstorms swept China this summer, triggering floods, landslides and mud-rock flows. Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality in the southwest recorded the heaviest rainfall in record while a year ago they were ravaged by all time high temperatures and severe droughts.

Almost half a million people have been evacuated from the projected path of floodwaters from the Huaihe River, which is expected to see its worst flooding since 1954.

Lightning strikes have killed 282 Chinese so far this year, according to the CMA. The administration reported 193 deaths between Jan. 1 and June 25 which means nearly 100 people have died in less than four weeks.

Chen Yu, a senior engineer with the CMA's National Climate Center, said the death toll caused by lightning in the first half of the year was 252, 109 more than last year's same period.

China's death toll from natural disasters stood at a staggering715 with 129 people missing by July 16, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Widespread and prolonged drought, which hit the country's north, northwest and southwest in the first half, left more than 12 million people and 11 million head of livestock short of drinking water and also affected 14 million hectares of arable land, among which 3.1 million hectares are sown to crops.

Meteorologists estimated that the heat wave lingering in the southern and southeastern regions are not likely to be relieved in the short term.

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