China's Deadly Summer Floods Have Caused $25B In Damage

BEIJING (AP) -- Summer floods in China have left more than 200 people dead or missing and caused $25 billion in direct damage, an emergency management official said Thursday.

The floods struck major river systems across the central and southern parts of the country. Major cities have been largely spared by the flooding but the impact compounds losses to the economy from the coronavirus outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Vice Minister of Emergency Management Zhou Xuewen told reporters 219 people were listed as dead or missing and 54,000 homes had been destroyed.

Economic losses of 178.9 billion yuan ($25.7 billion) were 15.9% higher than the average from flood damage over the past five years.

China has the world's second largest economy, but growth has slowed amid rising costs and market saturation at home. While it has largely contained the spread of COVID-19, strong concerns remain over employment and the fate of its export markets amid the continuing trade war with the United States.