Beijing: Hailstorms and tornadoes have claimed at least 97 lives across China in July, authorities have said.

The storms have affected 20.16 million people in 27 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions so far, and caused economic loss to the tune of 13.28 billion Yuan (USD 2.04 billion), the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

Jiangsu, Hubei, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Gansu provinces were the most seriously hit where several houses collapsed in the disasters, it said.

Among the 97 deaths, 60 were killed by thunder strikes. The death toll increased 26.7 per cent from the average of July in the recent seven years, it said.

(Agencies)