China’s Government: Natural Disasters Cost $3.3 Billion in First Quarter

FILE PHOTO: Paramilitary police officers remove snow from a road following snowfall in Beijing, China February 21, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Paramilitary police officers remove snow from a road following snowfall in Beijing, China February 21, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo
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China’s Government: Natural Disasters Cost $3.3 Billion in First Quarter

FILE PHOTO: Paramilitary police officers remove snow from a road following snowfall in Beijing, China February 21, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Paramilitary police officers remove snow from a road following snowfall in Beijing, China February 21, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

Floods, droughts, an earthquake and freezing conditions in China caused direct economic losses of 23.76 billion yuan ($3.28 billion) in the first quarter, the government said on Saturday.

The emergency management ministry cited damage from several cold spells, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, landslides in Yunnan province in the southwest and flooding on the Yellow River.

The disasters killed 79 people while 110,000 needed emergency relocation and resettlement and 10.4 million people across 26 regions and provinces were affected in the period, the ministry said in a report, according to Reuters.

Other natural disasters included a drought in the southwest affecting 424,000 hectares (10,500 acres) of crops, sandstorms in the northwest and forest fires in the southwest and south.

Last year natural disasters in China caused 345.45 billion yuan ($47.7 billion) of direct economic losses, with 691 people dead or missing, the ministry reported in January.

In January the ministry said it plans a three-year campaign to tackle problems hampering response times during disasters and accidents, including production safety lapses in sectors like mining.



Maritime Disruptions Cast Shadow on Global Energy Security

A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)
A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)
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Maritime Disruptions Cast Shadow on Global Energy Security

A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)
A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)

As the world focuses on the Red Sea due to rising attacks on passing ships, experts warn of growing threats to the region's shipping lanes, which could impact global energy security.

Some link the disruptions to regional geopolitical changes, while others believe they are part of a planned strategy due to the area’s natural resources.

Recently, a commercial ship off Yemen’s coast issued a distress call after a missile attack.

This incident coincided with the first international conference on energy security through maritime safety kicking off in Cairo, organized by the Saif Bin Helal Center for Studies and Research in Energy Sciences.

The conference stressed that secure waterways are essential for energy exports and development.

“The region is unstable. Geostrategic, economic, and security challenges are mounting,” warned former Arab League Secretary-General and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa at the opening of the conference.

“Disruptions in maritime routes threaten the stability, sovereignty, and wealth of nations. These are broad challenges, not just Red Sea issues—they’re reshaping global interests,” he added.

With this warning, he highlighted the ongoing turmoil in the Suez Canal, Bab el-Mandeb, and the Black Sea.

Moussa also warned about the risks of alternative routes being studied by various countries.

“These routes will serve specific national interests, not the security of international trade,” he cautioned.

On his part, Former Egyptian Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal stressed the vital role of the region’s waterways, especially with Gulf nations being major energy players worldwide.

He pointed out that without energy, there can be no development.

As the conference continued, British security firm Ambrey reported that a merchant vessel off the Yemeni coast took on water and tilted to one side after being targeted with three missiles.

The vessel issued a distress call stating it had sustained damage to the cargo hold and was taking on water approximately 54 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s Hodeidah, Ambrey added.