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UN: North Korea flood toll rises to 133, hundreds still missing

UN report says more than 100,000 people have been displaced and are in urgent need of assistance Photograph: (AFP)

WION United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, United States Sep 12, 2016, 06.16 AM (IST)
Severe flooding in North Korea has left 133 dead, 395 missing and tens of thousands homeless, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a report yesterday.

The report stated more than 35,500 houses have been damaged, 69 per cent of which have been completed destroyed, and a further 8,700 buildings, including schools and public buildings, have been damaged.

Around 16,000 hectares of arable land has been inundated. At least 140,000 people are in urgent need of assistance. Of those, over 100,000 people are estimated to have been displaced, the official figures stated.

This is considered to be the worst downpour North Korea has seen in years, caused by Typhoon Lionrock.

Areas close to the Tumen River were inundated, Musan and Yonsa counties and Hoeryong city in North Hamgyong Province were acutely affected. 

North Korea conducted a ''joint needs assessment'' with UN agencies, DPRK Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and international NGOs, to visit the flooded areas and assess the damage.

However, they were unable to reach Musan and Yonsa counties.

Water, food, shelter, health and sanitation are the immediate concerns. The humanitarian agencies have sent food, kitchen kits, water purification and health supplies for the victims.

A 200-day labour campaign meant to boost the country's economy was also redirected to aid the flood victims. 

The government is working towards reopening roads so that the flooded areas can be accessed and aid can be provided. They are also planning to build 20,000 houses before winter.

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