Chinese Storms Leave 15 Million Homeless

Communities in southeastern China are straining to resettle more than 15 million people left homeless by four devastating typhoons in recent months, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

The storms caused $3.6 billion in direct damage, Xinhua said, citing provincial officials in Fujian, the province worst hit by the disasters. The most costly damage was to businesses, farms, communications networks and water conservation projects.

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It said the central government had allocated only $7.5 million in relief funds for Fujian and neighboring Zhejiang province.

The most recent storm, Saomai, hit Fujian in mid-August, killing 441 people. It was the worst storm since record-keeping began in 1949, according to the government.

Each summer brings catastrophic weather to China, usually in the form of torrential rains and tropical storms. But this year, while coastal regions are rebuilding from floods and typhoons, many inland areas are enduring their worst drought in decades.