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Disasters kill more in 2008 than in tsunami

GENEVA (AFP) — More people died from natural disasters in the first six months of 2008 than in the Asian tsunami of 2004 due mainly to the earthquake in China and cyclone in Myanmar, the United Nations said Wednesday.

"2008 is a terrible year. There have already been more victims than in the tsunami," said Salvator Briceno, head of the UN's disaster management agency (ISDR).

More than 230,000 people lost their lives from disasters and another 130 million were affected, he said on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

Cyclone Nargis which hit Mynamar in May is estimated to have killed around 138,000 people while the earthquake in south-west China's Sichuan province left a death toll of 87,500.

Record floods in India as well as a devastating hurricane season in the Caribbeans also all contributed to the grim statistics.

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