Flash floods caused by heavy rain killed 40 people in North Korea’s northeastern border area over the weekend, the International Federation of the Red Cross said today.
Particularly heavy rain accompanying Typhoon Goni battered the Rason special economic zone where the borders of North Korea, Russia and China converge, the IFRC said in a statement.
The floods affected more than 11,000 people, with 153 houses completely destroyed and 849 houses damaged, it said, adding its report was based on information provided by North Korean authorities.
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The federation said the North’s Red Cross Society had quickly sent an 80-member team to assist evacuation and hand out non-food relief goods in cooperation with IFRC officials.
These included tarpaulins, family tents, cooking sets, water containers, shelter toolkits, quilts, hygiene kits and water purification tablets.
“More rain is forecast in (North Korea) and many disaster-prone areas in other provinces are likely to be affected,” Khaled Masud Ahmed, a IFRC disaster management delegate in North Korea, said in the statement.
The North’s official KCNA news agency confirmed heavy rain caused 40 “human casualties” in Rason and inundated large swathes of farmland.
Up to 250 mm pummelled Rason from early Saturday to late Sunday, destroying 5,240 houses, 99 public service buildings and 51 railway sections, KCNA said.
In June, the impoverished country said its main rice-growing provinces had been badly damaged by what state media described as the worst drought for a century.
Poor weather makes it harder for the communist state to feed its 24 million people as it lacks advanced agricultural technology and infrastructure.
Decades of deforestation and the decrepit infrastructure have left it vulnerable to floods.