Beijing, Jan 5 (IANS) Floods that ravaged China last year killed 673 people, while another 159 were reported missing, as waters inundated 184 cities and affected the lives of 120 million people, a top official said Saturday.
Zhang Zhitong, head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, however said the toll was about half the average seen in previous years, Xinhua reported.
Massive floods in the Yangtze river, Yellow river and Haihe river last year pushed up water levels in more than 420 smaller rivers, he said.
Floods inundated 184 cities and affected 120 million people, which was about 10 percent less than the average in previous years.
Last year, floods and droughts cost China around 320 billion yuan (51.49 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses last year, he added.
The official said droughts were also "less serious" last year, impacting around nine million hectares of land, about 60 percent less than the average.