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North Korea Appeals For International Aid After Deadly Floods

TodayNewsReview / General / Health / North Korea Appeals For International Aid After Deadly Floods 293 Views

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Historic flooding has crippled North Korea’s most remote counties, killing at least 133 people and leaving at least 100,000 people homeless after a devastating typhoon ripped through the already isolated nation, according to U.N. officials.

The storm’s aftermath forced the power-hungry country to ask for water, medicine and food — anything to help the estimated 150,000 people impacted by Typhoon Lionrock, all while facing international backlash for unleashing its fifth and most powerful nuclear test yet Friday.

It’s unclear which nations will heed Pyongyang’s call for help, especially after South Korea announced that their northern neighbor could launch its sixth nuclear weapons test at any moment.

During a tour of the damage last week, the government said nearly a foot of rain in late August prompted the Tumen River to flood northern provinces bordering China and Russia.

North Korean state-run media said the typhoon sparked the worst single case of downpours and high winds since 1945, though that claim couldn't be verified.

North Korean officials led representatives with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs through the worst of the damage, releasing sobering data that said more than half of the 35,500 damaged homes had been destroyed, nearly 400 people had gone missing and at least 600,000 people were without drinking water.

The assessment team tried accessing rural villages in the Yonsa and Musan counties 280 miles northeast of Pyongyang, but the roads were inaccessible.

“The effects of this flooding will be even more dramatic and devastating than initially thought,” International Federation of Red Cross head Chris Staines told the Washington Post.

Staines was among 22 independent aid workers who toured what he described as “extensive” damage to corn and rice crops and villages surrounding Hoeryong City.

He believes the flooding was worse than the statistics handed down from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he told the Post.

In an relief report, Staines said he saw residents “salvaging whatever possessions they could from piles of debris that used to be their homes.”

“There was barely a building left unscathed,” he added.

He was told the DPRK government dispatched teams of soldiers and Red Cross volunteers to rebuild homes before winter settles in and hand out relief supplies, but there was only enough for about 20,000 people.

Natural disasters in North Korea are more devastating because of problematic infrastructure and lack of civil engineering projects designed to prevent damage. A flash flood that tore through the Rason area last year killed 40 people.

A series of floods and droughts were a contributing factor in the disastrous famine years of the 1990s that nearly brought the country to economic ruin.


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