Seoul to send relief supplies for North Korean flood victims

South Korea's Red Cross will send emergency supplies to North Korea this week to help victims of flash flooding that claimed 88 lives and left thousands homeless late last month.

"The relief supplies will be enough for about 3,000 families and mostly focus on clothes and daily necessities," a Red Cross official said, adding that the aid agency will coordinate the delivery with its North Korean counterpart.

More than 100 people remain missing and 205 were injured by the deluge, caused by torrential rain that swept across North Korea on June 30, a U.N. relief organization said on Friday (July 8).

South Pyeongan Province was the worst effected area, with about 16,000 people from 3,105 families in Deokcheon City, and Bukchang and Maengsan counties in need of relief assistance, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on its Internet site.

As much as 150 millimeters of rain fell in the space of an hour, causing landslides and destroying many homes in the areas, it said.

"Families who have lost their homes due to the landslides have been taken in by relatives or are being housed in public buildings," it said. "Immediate needs for food, water, clothes and so on are being met by local authorities with the help of (North Korean) Red Cross volunteers and others."

The South Korean government also expressed concern over the natural disaster at inter-Korean economic talks that started in Seoul on Saturday.

The North's Korean Central News Agency confirmed last week that the flooding in South Pyeongan Province has caused serious damage to the country's economy.

Damage caused by flooding in the North combined with droughts and slope erosion has cost between $1 billion and $15 billion every year, according to the Red Cross.


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