2010: China’s Year In Catastrophes

China suffered the third and fourth most fatal natural disasters of 2010 after the Haiti earthquake and the heatwave in Russia and eastern Europe. The Qinghai earthquake in April took 2,968 lives. Widespread flooding and mudslides across the country between late May and August killed 2,490 people. A further 1,765 people died after a mudslide in August destroyed 67 buildings in Zhouqu in Gansu, itself the sixth most fatal disaster in the world last year.

The Zhouqu mudslide alone caused 5 billion yuan ($765 million) worth of damage, according to insurance company Swiss Re. In its annual review of the world’s natural catastrophes and man-made disasters, it says that the widespread flooding and mudslides of the summer caused 345 billion yuan worth of damage, affected 230 million people across 28 provinces and left 15 million homeless. Sixteen million hectares of farmland were destroyed.

Insurance covered only 5 billion yuan ($761 million) of the losses, Swiss Re says, leaving individuals, the government and NGOs to pick up the tab for the rest. Similarly, the earthquake in Qinghai resulted in insured claims of less than $1 million.

The table below chronicles, event by event, a grim year at the hands of both nature and man. Inevitably the list of mining accidents is long.

Natural Catastrophes and Man-Made Disasters, 2010
Date Place Event Damage
Mar 10 Shannxi Landslide caused by heavy snow; 25 houses destroyed 27 dead, 152 homeless
May 29-Aug 31 Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, Guizhou, Anhui, Shaanxi, Gansu Floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoonal rain; >2m houses destroyed, >5m damaged, >16m hectares of farmland destroyed; up to 28 provinces affected At least 1,724 dead, at least 766 missing, 15.2m homeless; 345bn yuan total damage, 5bn yuan insured loss
Aug 8-Sep 8 Gansu, Zhouqu Mudslide caused by heavy rain; 67 buildings, 200 hectares of cropland, water pipes, electricity lines destroyed 1,481 dead, 284 missing, 47,000 homeless; 5bn yuan total damage, 18m yuan insured loss
Sep 30-Oct 6 Hainan Floods caused by heavy rains; 182 towns submerged 1 dead, 3 missing; 1.1bn yuan total damage
May 5-24 Chongqing, Hunan, Guangdong, Jiangzi, Guizhou, Anhui, Hubei Storm winds up to 110 kph, heavy rain, floods 115 dead, 21 missing, 160 injured; 5.9bn total damage, 130m yuan insured losss
Jul 13-17 Hainan Island, Southern China, Philippines, Vietnam Typhoon Conson/No 1 with winds up to 120 kph, heavy rains; 3,691 houses, 1,3000 hectares of riceland destroyed *114 dead, 52 missing, 31 injured; $145m total damage
Jul 22 Southern China, Hong Kong, Vietnam Typhoon Chanthu/No 3 with winds up to 126 kph, heavy rains, floods, 2,915 houses destroyed in China *14 dead, 5 injured, 2.4bn total damage
Sep 9 Shishi City, Fujian, Zheijiang Typhoon Meranti with winds up to 100 kph; heavy rains, damage to cropland 3 dead, 186,000 homeless, 800m yuan total damage
Sep 19-21 Fujian, Guangdong, Taiwan Typhoon Fanapi/No 11 with winds up to 169 kph, heavy rain, floods, landslides; 66.4m hectares of crops flooded, 16,000 houses collapsed; landslide caused damage to a tin mine causing water pollution 135 dead, 61 missing, 128,000 homeless; $800 million total damage, $69m insured loss
Oct 17-23 Fujian, Taiwan, Philippines Super Typhoon Megi with winds up to 220 kph, floods, mudslides; 30,048 houses destroyed *46 dead, at least 4 missing, 42 injured; $701m total damage, $100m insured losses
Apr 14 Tibet, Qinghai, Yushu, Jiegu Magnitude 6.9 earthquake, aftershocks 2,698 dead, 270 missing, 12,000 injured, 100,000 homeless; 670m yuan total damage, 4m yuan insured losses
Drought, Bush Fires, Heat Waves
Jan 1-Jun 1 Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi Drought; millions of hectares of farmland destroyed 237 bn yuan total damage
May 12-Jun 12 Sichuan Grassland fires spread by strong dry winds 22 dead
Cold, Frost
Jan 1-19 Xinjiang Heavy snow, avalanches, cold temperatures of -45˚C 20 dead, 1,100 injured; 650m yuan total damage
Feb 28-Mar 1 Shangdong Heavy snow; 5,883 houses and 66,310 hecatares of farmland destroyed 1.6bn yuan total damage
Major Fires, Explosions
Apr 1 Hebei Gas pipeline leak at steel plant 21 dead
Feb 26 Guangdong Fire and explosion at fireworks factory 23 dead, 48 injured
Aug 16 Heilongjiang Explosion at illegal fireworks factory 20 dead, 4 missing, 153 injured
Nov 15 Shanghai Fire at 28-storey residential building 58 dead, 71 injured
Aviation Disasters
Oct 24 Yichun Lindu Airport Embraer 190LR crashes upon landing 42 dead
Maritime Disasters
Dec 16-19 South China Sea 22 fishing vessels capsize due to strong winds *5 dead, 51 missing
Mining Accidents
Jan 6 Hunan Fire at coal mine 30 dead
Mar 1-15 Inner Mongolia Flood at coal mine after heavy rain 32 dead
Mar 15 Henan Fire at coal mine 25 dead
Mar 28 Shanxi Flooding of coal mine 38 dead, 115 injured
Mar 31 Place Gas explosion at coal mine At least 43 dead
May 13 Guizhou Gas explosion at illegal coal mine 21 dead
Jun 21 Henan Explosion at coal mine 47 dead
Jul 17 Shaanxi Fire at coal mine 28 dead
Aug 6 Lingnan Fire at gold mine 23 dead
Oct 16 Henan Gas explosion at coal mine 37 dead
Dec 7 Henan Explosion at coal mine 26 dead
Collapse of Buildings/Bridges
Jul 24 Henan Collapsed bridge due to overcrowding 49 dead, 17 missing
* figures for struck region, not just China; Source: Natural Catastrophes And Man-Made Disasters in 2010, Swiss Re, March 2011

Update: 2010 China’s Year In Catastrophes, Part II

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One response to “2010: China’s Year In Catastrophes

  1. Pingback: 2010: China’s Year In Catastrophes, Part II | China Bystander

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