Tens of thousands homeless in N.Korea after floods

News and Press Release
Originally published
SEOUL, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Nearly 40,000 North Korean families are homeless after torrential rain last month, South Korea said on Tuesday, confirming a recent Red Cross report of extensive damage that is also hindering aid work.
Rainfall exceeded the average for the normal rainy season on the Korean peninsula by more than a third and it was concentrated late in the month, a South Korean official said by telephone.

"Our assessment is that the rain exceeded the average of normal years and damage is extensive," the official said.

Much of the secretive communist North was affected by the heavy downpour that fell over two days in late July, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said recently in a report.

Many parts of the country affected were inaccessible for rescue and aid because the deluge destroyed roads and bridges into the areas, the report said. Impoverished North Korea relies heavily on outside aid to help feed its people.

In two counties alone relatively close to the capital Pyongyang, 24 people had been killed in flooding, the Red Cross report said.

Destruction of properties was particularly high in the northern province of Ryanggang where nearly 20,000 families were believed to be homeless, the report said.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency had put an estimate of the damage on Aug. 2 at more than 1,000 homes destroyed, with extensive damage to crops and railway lines.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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