Beijing, Aug 21(ANI): Chinese Land and Resources Minister Xu Shaoshi has said that the country has recorded over 26,000 geological disasters in the first seven months of this year, nearly 10 times the number in the same period last year.
Shaoshi said that the disasters, ranging from landslides to ground subsidence, left 843 people dead or missing and led to direct economic losses of over 3.34 billion yuan.
He attributed the disasters to frequent extreme weather patterns such as severe drought and rainstorms, as well as to the impact of seismic activities.
"Geological disasters have become natural disasters that cause the second-largest number of casualties in the country, only after earthquakes," Xinhua news agency quoted Shaoshi, as saying.
"China is still facing a tough situation in preventing geological disasters. August and September are the main flooding seasons in the country and there is still the possibility of torrential rains in some regions," he added.
The Minister further said that although the country's urban and rural areas have been undergoing rapid development in recent years, lack of attention on geological surveying during residential construction had made them vulnerable to geological disasters. (ANI)