Natural disasters killed 88,928 people in China last year, according to a report released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The number is the highest since 1976, when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Tangshan City in north China's Hebei Province and killed more than 242,000 people, according to the report on the statistics of the country's civil affairs in 2008.
In addition, a total of 480 million people were affected by natural disasters, with direct financial losses of 1.175 trillion yuan (about 173 billion U.S. dollars).
In 2008, major natural disasters were frequent in China, with the unexpected strike of snows in the south and the devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province, the ministry said in the report.
The 8.0-magnitude earthquake left more than 87,000 people dead or missing and more than 374,640 injured in Sichuan and neighboring provinces.
Before that, the blizzards that struck much of central and southern China in early 2008 left 129 people dead and losses reached 151.65 billion yuan, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.